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DANS LA COLLECTION

RECHERCHES
39. C. PETRAXTIS, The Arabic Version of Aristotlr's
Meteorology. 41. F. JADAANE,L'infuence du stofcisme sur la penrls musulmane. 43. M. ALLARD, Textes apologltiques de 6uwaini. 44. G. MAKDISI,T e Notebooks of Ibn 'Aqil: h Kitcib al-funtin. Part I. 45. G. MAKDISI, The Notebooks of Ibn 'Aqil: Kitcib al-funfn. Part 11. 46. M . MAHDI, Kitcib al-hurtif de Fdrcibi. 47. M . SWARTZ, Zbn al-Jawzi's Kitlib al-Qu& wa'l -Mudhakkirin. 48. J . LANGHADE M . GRIONASCHI, & Kitdb aalbafciba de Fdrcibi. 49. P. NWYIA, Exlglse coranique et langage mystique. 50. F. KHOLEIP,Kitcib al-tawbid de Mcituridi.

Sbrio I : PensBe arabe e t musulmane.

SBrie 3 : Orient chrCtien.


4. M . TALLON, des Letlres (Gjrk T'lt'oc). Liure

Nouvelle SCrie :

3. A. N . NADER, Le systlm philosophique &s Mu'tazila (premiers penseurs de l1Islam) 6. A. N . NADER, Le liurr du triomphs et de la rlfutatwn d'Ibn al-Rawandi l'hlrltique, par Abti'lflusayn al-Khayyq, 1e mu'tazil. 7. P. NWA, IRS lettres de direction spitriuelle d'Ibn 'Abbcid de Ronda (ar-Rasci'il a$-iugra) 8. F. JAB=, La notion de la ma'rifa chez Ghazcili. 9. W . KUTSCH, rcibit ibn Qurrci's Arabische l?bersetzung der 'APLFJ~~TLxS] y ~ d des Etaa Nikomachos von Gerasa. 11. I.-A. K H A L I F ~ $$ci' as-sci'il li-tah#ib al, masci'il d'Ibn ualdtin. 13. W. KUTSCH& S. MARROW, al-Farabi's Commentary on Aristotle's I I c p l 'Eppqvclag (de interpretatione) . 14. M. BOUYGES & M . ALLARD, Essai de chronologie &s teuures d'al-Ghazali. 17. P. NWYIA, Zbn 'Abbcid de Ronda (1332-1390). 18. A. TAMER I.-A. KHALIPB, Kitcib al-huff & wa-1-'a~illat d'al-Mdaddal ibn 'Umar a l - c a p . 2' Cdition. 19. 0. YAHYA, Kitcib b t m al-awliyci' d'al-Tim*. 25. J . J . HOUBEN,Kitcib al-majmti' j?l-muby bi'ltaklif & 'Abd al-Jabbcir. Vol. 1. 26. S. DE BEAURECEUIL, Khwci4a 'Abdullcih A w r i , ntystiqw hanbalite (1006- 1089). 28. M. ALLARD, probllm des atfributs divins dam Le la doctrine d'al-Af'ari et de ses p r e m k grandc disc$lss. 31. F. KHOLEIP,A stu& on Fakhr al-Din al-Rcizi and his controversies in Transoxiam. 36. A. TAMER, al-Qaiida al-f@ya. 37. A. TAMER, al-'aqci'id wa ma'dan al-fnwci'id. Tcig

Docrirnents arndniens du b'C ~iicle.Epuist. 10. A. FATTAL, Le statut Iigal des non-ntisulnmn~ en pays dYIslam. 12. J . M. FIEY, ~VIossoulchrktienne. 15. M . DE FENOYL, Le Sanrtoral cope. 20. M . ALLARD G. TROUPEAU, ' i t r esur & ~'l? I'Uniti et la Triniti, le Trait.! sur l'intellect et le Fragment stir l'iinte de ~\f~ih!li al-Din al-[$ahhi. 22. J . M. FIEY, A s ~ y r ichriticnne. Vol. I . ~ 23. J. M. FIEY, Assyrie chritienne. Vol. 11. 24. P. KHOURY, Paril d'/-lntioche. iutque nlelkite de Sidon (XZle s.). 27. J . M ~ C ~ K I A N , Expe'dition-arc/~iologique duns 1 AIL' tiochhe occidentale. L'cqlisc arntlno-giorgiennr de Saint- Thomas. 30. J. MBCBRIAW,Histoire PI itutitutions lie I ' ~ ~ 1 i s e armknienne.

A. Langue arabe et pensee islarnique.


1 . A. BADAW~,Comntentaires sur Arislote perdu en grec. 2. P. N N T I A , Ibn ' A @ -4lldh. Texte et traductwn de.~ Hikant.

34. J. J . HOUBEN,Kitcib al-majmf' fl-mubit bi'ltaklif de 'Abd al-Jabbir. V o l . 11.


Sirie 2: Langue e t littirature arabes.

3. F. S I I E H A D IGhazdi's al-iI.laq,rad al-asna. , 4. H . FLEISCH, fiudes d'arabe dialectal. 5. A. RohlAN, BaSSdr et son expiricrlce courtoise. 6. D. GIMARET,Kit~ibBilawhar wa Bli&.f. 7. P. NIVYIA, Trois mures inkdites de mystiques tnusulmans: Saqiq al-Balbi, Ibn 'Alci', Nzrari. 8. W . HADDAD, Kifcib al-MuLtnmadfi yrtil al-Din dri Qddi AbB YariLi. 9. P. NWYIA, Lettres rle direction spirituelle d'Zbn 'Abb6d de Ronda. 2 e Cd. revue et augmentte. 10. M . J . MCDERMOTT, The Theology of al-Shaikh al-A.1ufirl. 1 1. H . FLEISCH, Trait6 de Philologie arabe. V o l . I 1 (sous presse) .

B. Orient chrbtien.

5. H . FLEISCH,L'arabe classique. Esquisse d'une structure linguistique. 2e ddition. 16. H . FLEISCH,Traitl de philologie arabe. Vol. I. 32. A. GATEAU, Atlas nautique tunisicn. Vol. I. e d i t 6 par H . Charles. 33. A. GATEAU, Glossaire nautique tunisirn. Vol. 11. Edit6 par H. Charles. 38. C . H E C H A ~ M ~ , Chikh0 et son livre (tL.9 christianisme et la littlrature chrlticnne en Arabis avant l'lslam D .

Sirie 4 : Histoire et sociologie du Proche-Orient.

1. M . C H ~ B L IFakhreddine 1 Maan, prince du , 1 Liban (1572-1635). Bpuisti. 2. A. BOOOLIOUBSKY, Notice sur les batailles livrles ir l'ennemi 2 partir dri Ier jliin 1770. g p u i s t . 21. S . ABOU,Elrqlittes srrr les langues en usage art Liban. 35. F. HOURS & K . S A L J B I . Tirill BayrCt dc Stlilt bin Yallyd.

1. P. \-AN D E N AKKEK, Bulrris as-Sadamnti. Ilttrodnction nir l'hermbtestique. 2. K W A M EGYEKYE, al- Tayyib's ~ommentary Ibn on Porphy1:y's Eisagoge.

4. F. KLEIN-FKANKE, Treatise on the Therapy of the Body and the Soul of Ibn Bakhtifhf'. 5. M . HAYEK, 'dmnzdr al-Bqri: Apologic ct conlrouerses.

RECHERCHES
P U B L I ~ E SSOUS L A DIRECTION DE L'INSTITUT DE LETTRES ORIENTALES DE BEYROUTH

NOUVELLE S ~ R I E

Persian Studies Series No. 9

A. LANGUE ARABE ET PENSEE ISLAMIQUE


Tome X

This is substantially a dissertation completed at the University of Chicago in 1971, slightly revised in 1973. Untoterard circumstances, mainly the Lebanese War, have delayed its publication until now.
Beirut, 1978

MARTIN J. McDERMOTT

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D


(d. 4 1311022)

DAK EL-MACHREQ BDITEURS R. P 946, BEYROUTH .

PERSIAN STUDIES SERIES


The Persian Studies Series consists of scholarly
works which explore and elucidate various aspects of Iranian history and culture. Volrrmes Published Reuben Levy, Introduction to Persian Literatuyc. Columbia University Press, 1969 Ali Dashti, In Search of Omar Khayyam (No. I), tr. L.P. Elwell-Sutton. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971 James Pearson, A Bibliography of Pre-Islamic Persia (No. 2). London: Mansell Information and Publishing Ltd., 1975 M.H. Tabataba'i, Shi'ite Islam (No. 5), tr. S.H. Nasr. State University of New York Press, 1975 J. Ch. Biirgel, Drei HafiJ Studien (No. 6). Bern: Herbert Lang Verlag, 1975 Binini : A Symposium, ed. E. Yarshater (No. 10). Columbia University Press, 1976 Christopher J. Brunner, A Syntax of Western Middle Iranian (No; 3). Delmar, New York: Caravan Books, 1977 John Yohannan, Persian-Literature in England and America (No. 4 ) . Delmar, New York: Caravan Books, 1977 Edward C. Bosworth, The Later Ghaznauids (No. 7). Edinburgh University Press

C d l l ~ a Editor l Ehsan Yarshater (Columbia University)

Advimy ComWIGll

R.N. Frye (Harvard University)


I. Gershevitch (Cambridge University) G. Lazard (University of Paris) G. Morgenstierne (University of Oslo) B. Spuler (University of Hamburg)

Copyright 1978, Dar al-Masl~rcq.Beirui All rights reserved

& +

3L , . LI

This volume has been published with the assistance of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Arts and the Royal Institute of Translation and Publication.

In Press
A. Schimmel, Rumi :A Study of His Life and Works (No. 8). London: Fine Books All inquiries about the Persian Heritage and Persian Studies Series should be directed to Mr. Felix Weigel, Harrassowitz, P. 0.Box 2929 P-6200 Wiesbaden, Germany.

ISBN 2-7214-5601-6

Distribution : LIBKAIRIE ORIENTALE, B. P. 1986 BEYROUTH, LIBAN

"

A complete list of volumes published in the Persian Studies Series and Persian Heritage Series appears on the following pages.

PERSIAN HERITAGE SERIES


Volumee Published
Varavini, The Tales of Marzuban (No. I), tr. Reuben Levy. Indiana Univ. Press, 1959 (Reprint 1968) Tusi, The Nasirean Ethics (No. 2), tr. G.M. Wickens. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1964 Ferdowsi, The Epic of the Kings (No. 3), tr. Reuben Levy. University of Chicago Press, 1967 (Reprint 1973) Nezami, Le Sette Principesse (No. 4), tr. A. Bausani. Rome: Leonardo da Vinci, 1967 Attar, Muslim Saints and Mystics (No. 5), tr. A.J. Arberry. University of Chicago Press, 1966 (Reprint 1973) Nezami, ChosroEs et Chfrfne(No. 6), tr. Henri Masst. Paris : Maisonneuve et Larose, 1970 Rumi, Mystical P o e m I (No. 7), tr. A.J. Arberry. University of Chicago Press, 1974 Aruzi, Les quatre discours (No. 8), tr. I. de Gastines. Paris : Maisonneuve et Larose, 1968 Gurgani, Vis and Ramin (No. 14), tr. G. Morrison. Columbia University Press, 1972 Fasai, History of Persia Under Qajar Rule (No. 15). tr. H. Busse, Columbia University Press, 1972 Aturpat-e Emetan, Denkart 1 1 (No. 16), tr. 1 J. De Menasce. Paris: Librairie Klincksieck, 1974 Sa'di, Bustan (No. 17), tr. G. M. Wickens. University of Toronto Press, 1974 Anon., Folk Tales of Ancient Persia (No. 18), tr. F. Hekmat & Y. Lovelock. Delmar, N.Y.: Caravan Books, 1974 Bighami, Love and War (No. 19), tr. W. Hanaway Jr. Delmar, N.Y.: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1974 Anon., The History ofSistan (No. 20), tr. M. Gold. Rome: IsMEO, 1977 Manichuean Literature (An Anthology) (No. 22), tr. J. Asmussen. Delmar, New York: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1974 Rumi, Le Livre du Dedans (No. 25), tr. E. de VitrayMeyerovitch. Paris: Edition Sjnbad, 1975 Rurni, Licht und Reigen (No. 26), tr. J. Ch. Biirgel. Bern: Herbert Lang Verlag, 1974 Samarkandi, Le Livre des sept uizirs (No. 27), tr. D. Bogdanovic. Paris: Edition Sinbad, 1975 Attar, Ilahiname (No. 29), tr. J. A. Boyle. Manchester University Press, 1977 Hafez, Divan (HaJzu-Slaish) (No. 30), tr. T. Kuriyanagi. Tokyo: Heibosha Ltd., 1977 Nezami, Khosrau and Shirin (No. 33), tr. A. Okada. Tokyo: Heibosha Ltd., 1977

In Preee
Rumi, Mystical Poems Z (No. 23) Z tr. A.J. Arberry Eskandar Beg Monshi, History of Shah 'Abbas (No. 28), tr. R.M. Savory Anon., Zskandarnama (No. 3 l), tr. M. Southgate Nizam al-Molk, The Book of Government (No. 32) tr. H. Darke Aturpate-e Ernetan, Denkart III tr. S. Shaked

Forthcoming

Razi, Mersad al-Ebad tr. H. Algar Nishapuri, History of the Saljuqs tr. A. Luther Mohammad b. Monavvar, Asrar al-Tawhid tr. J. O'Kane Naser-e Khosrow, Safarnama tr. W. Thaxton Tabari, Annals 774-809 A.D. tr. J.A. Williams Anon., Myths and Legends of Ancient Iran tr. E. Yarshater Anon., Sasanian Law Book (Matikon-i hazar datosian) tr. A. Perikhanian and N. Garsoian Ferdausi, Anthologie du livre des rois tr. J. Mohl, Cdit. G. Lazard Anon., Le Livre d'drdaviraz tr. P. Gignoux Gardizi, History tr. A. Pontecorvo Khayyam, The Ruba'iyat tr. P. Avery and Heath-Stubbs

Anon., The Letter of Tansar (No. 9), tr. M. Boyce.


Rome: IsMEO, 1968 Rashid al-Din, The Successors of Genghis Khan (No. lo), tr. J.A. Boyle. Columbia University Press, 1971 Mohammad ibn Ibrahim, The Ship of Sulaiman (No. 1l), tr. J. O'Kane. Columbia University Press, 1972 Faramarz, Samak-e Ayyar (No. 12), tr. F. Razavi. Paris : Maisonneuve et Larose, 1972 Avicenna, Metaphysics (No. 13), tr. P. Morewedge. Columbia University Press, 1973

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

It is my pleasant duty to thank Professor Wilferd Madelung for his inspiration, guidance and encouragement; and also Professor Fazlur Rahman and Father Richard McCarthy for their patience and valued suggestions. I am deeply grateful to the University of Chicago and the American Research Center in Egypt for their financial help to a graduate student. And finally I must thank Dar el-Machrcq for publishing this study in its "Recherchea" and Professor Yarshater for including it in the Persian Studies Series.

INTRODUCTION ..
Al-Mufid . . . . . . . . Mu'tazilite Schools . . Kalcim as Theology . . . . . . Life of al-Mufid . . . . . . . . . . . . . Al-Mufid's Traditionist Teachers . Al-Mufid's Career . . . . . . . . . . . . . Excursus I : the Banii Nawbakht . . Excursus 11: al-Mufid's Works . . . Doubtful and Spurious Works .

PART I: MUcTAZILISM
ilhapter I. SYNOPSIS TWO OF SYSTEMS. . ..

...

49

Al-Mufid's System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... 49 'Abd al-Jabbiir's System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 OBLIGATION AND Chapter 11. MORAL
THE

Man's First Obligation . . . . . . . How tlie Obligation is Known . Basis of Moral Obligation . . . . . Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Excu~.sus Necessary Knowledge . . :

ROLE REASON. . . 57 OF . ...... ..... . . . 58

..

... ...

...

58 62 66 66

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter I11. MAN'SBESTINTERESTS AND GOD'SHELP . .


............... Man's Best Interests . . God's Help .................. God's Irresistible Help ........ 'I~maand the Subject's Freedom . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hearer and Seer . . Willing . . . . . . . God as Speaker . . . . . . . . . Source of the Attributes ..... Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter VII . JUSTICE

Chapter I V. PROPHECY . . Prophet ......... Miracles . . . The Quran ............ Temporality of the Quran . Text of the Quran . . . . . . . . . . . The Prophet's Privileges: 'i~ma. . . . Other Privileges . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary ..... Chapter V . IMAMATE .. Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Protection from Sin and Error ..... Other Privileges . . . . . . . . . . . . . Exaggerations Rejected . . . . 'Abd al-JabbSlr's View . . . . . . . . Necessity of Having an Imam .... Objections to the Occultatioli ..... Appointment of the Imam .... Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

God's Justice Omission and Resolve . . . Man's Power of Choice . . Willing and the Willed ..... Ability as State or Accident . . . . Indirect Effects (tawallud) ... Appetite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commands . . . . . . Substitution (badal) ..... The Stamp and the Seal ....... Pain and Compensation ('iwad) . Recompense to Beasts ......... Summary ........... Chapter VIII . NATURAL PHILOSOPHY. . Sources ...................... Atoms . . . . . . Place (makdn) . . . . . . . . . . . . . Permanence (baqd') of Atoms . . . The Nonexistent (al-ma'dam) . . . . Accidents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Time . . . . Bodies . . . . . . . . Movelnent .......... God's Direct Causality . .

.... ........

... Chapter VI . GOD'SATTRIBUTES


Attribution and its Referent ... Attributes of Essence and Act .... God as Knowing .............

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

Earth and Universe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Natures (tabc.pl . tibd') . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Four Elements (tabi'a. pl tabd'i') . . . . . Perception and Sensation . . . . . . . . . . . . ........ Man .............. Summary . . . . . . Conclusion . .

Traditions of Eschatology 268 269 Torment of the Grave Vision at Death ...................................... 272 Ordeals on Judgment Day . .................... 273 Summary

............................... ................................ .

.................

Chapter X I LEGAL MATTERS .................... Legal Stance of the Imamite .................... 277 Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil ............. 279 Dissimulation (taqiyya) ................................ 280 Cooperation with the Wicked .......................... 282 Roots of Jurisprudence ................................. 284 Universal and Particular .............................. 285 Consensus (ijmi') .................................... 287 Analogous Reasoning (qiyk) ........................... 289 ..... 295 Legitimate ijtihid ................. ... Isolated Traditions (khabar al-wihid) ... . . 298 Widespread (mutawitir) Traditions . . . . . 299 Abrogation (al-nCsikh wal-mansgkh) . 301 Ambiguous Passages (mutash~bihit)... . . 304

Table 1

....
THE JUDGMENTS

...

Chapter I X . THENAMES AND Kharijites and Mu'tazilites Murji'ites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ash'arites . . Al-Mufid . . Judgments . . . . . . .

..

.............

Range of Unbelief: i . Determinists . . . . . . . ii . Unthinking Imitators . . ... in . Heretics . . . . . . . . . . . iv . Enemies of 'Ali . . . . . An Objection .......... Conclusion .... Chapter X THE PROMISE AND

...

Al-Mufid as a Critic of Tradition Summary ....................

..

THE

. THREAT . . .
Chapter

The Threat .......................... Intercession .......... Great and Small Sins ....... Obedience must be rewarded ... God's Forgiveness .......... Favor or Reward

X 1. THEUSEOF REASON I .....

.................... Bad&' ......................................


God's Attributes Vision of God and Anthropomorphic Expressions

Repentance

......

Chapter XIV.

.... God and Injustice ..... Ability (istita"ii) . . . . Justice and Favor .....
JUSTICE

INTRODUCTION

......... Chapter XV. REVELATION


'Isma of Prophets and Imams Chapter XVI. MAN .... Faith and Islam ... The Garden .... Souls ..........

...
The need for better understanding of the development of ImHmi Shi'ite theology has long been recognized. The authors of Introduction h la thkologie musulmane note that their own systematic study is limited to the consideration of Sunni theology, and they "heartily wish that monographic studies from a more historical point of view could be undertaken on Shi'ite kaliim, studies which moreover would be found fruitfully illuminating for Muctazilite kaliim, on which the Shi'ite theologians so closely depended."l Many monographs on individual theologians have yet to be written before an adequate picture can be had of the origin, the terms, and the early history of that marriage in theology of two so unlikely and initially disparate partners: 'ImHmism and Mu'tazilism. One study, 'AbbHs IqbHl's Khiinadiin-i N a ~ b a k h t i ,already existed ~ at the time of the remark just quoted, and it has been reprinted since. But further studies of ImZimi theology have been very slow in coming. Recently W. Madelung has outlined its general development in his article, "Imamism and Muctazilite T h e ~ l o g y . " Al-Shaikh al-Mufid ~ (Aba 'Abd Allah Mul~ammadb. M. b. al-NucmHn al-HHrithi al-BaghdHdi, d. 41311022) is the subject of a short article by R. Strothmann in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. An account of his life and works by Sayyid
L. GARDET M. ANAWATI, and Introduction d In thkologie musulmane (cr Etudes de philosophie mCditvale>),No. 37; Paris: Vrin, 1948), pp. 5-6. a 'ABBASIQBAL,Khinadin-i Nawbakhti (2nd ed.; "Iranian Culture and Literature", No. 43; Tehran: Tahuri, 1966). The first edition was in 1932. W. ~IADELUNG, rrImami~m Mu'tazilite Theology," in Le S12icisme imamite and (Colloque du Centre d'Ctudes suptrieures spicialist d'histoire des religions de Strasbourg; Paris : Presses universitaires de France, 1970), pp. 13-30. R. STROTHMANN, "Al-Mufid," Encyclopaedia of Islam (1st ed.; Leiden: Brill', 1913-34), 111, 625-6.

PART 111: AL-SHARIF

AL-MURTADA

Chapter XVII. AL-SHAR~F AL-MURTADA. . Reason and Revelation ........... God's Attributes ...... Justice ................. Pain and Compensation . . Revelation .................................. Gravesinners .................................. Commanding the Good and Forbidding the Bad . . . . . Eschatology ................................. Badii' ....... ... Conclusion .

INTRODUCTION

Hasan al-Miisawi al-ICharsHn is prefixed to al-Tiisi's Tahdhib al-ah/klm. 1 More recently Shaikh Muhammad Hasan A1 YHsin of Kl~imiyya has published an article on al-Mufid and has written his biography which he hopes to publish. And most recently of all, after this present study was composed, D. Sourdel has published two articles about him. Unfortunately Professor Sourdel's work came to my attention too late for me to profit by it. I do think, however, that our points ofview are different enough to warrant separate studies.

"

Attacking the contemporary Shi'ite doctrine of man's freedom and God's Justice, Ibn Taymiyya points out that the idea came late to them. He says: I t is known that the Mu'tazilites are at the root of this thesis, and that the shaikhs of the RHfidites such as al-MuEd, al-Miisawi, alKarHjaki, and others merely took it from the Mu'tazila. For the rest, none of this is found in the discussions of the early Shi'a. Al-Shaikh al-Mufid was the teacher of the three other theologians mentioned here: al-Miisawi (al-Sharif al-hlurtadi), al-Tiisi, and alKarHjaki. Ibn Taymiyya is oversimplifying if he means al-Mufid was the first of the ImHmis to borrow doctrines from the Mu'tazilites. Al-KhayyHt, writing about the year 2691882, said that the Riijida (i.e. the ImHmis) in general detested the method of kallm and held that God has a body, moves, rests, changes His mind, causes men to sin and disbelieve, and

I'

$ p'
t

1 Asti JA'FAR MUHAMMAD B. AL-HASAN AL-Ttisi,Tahdhib al-a!lkain, ed. al-Hasan al-Mbawi al-Kharsln (2nd ed.; Najaf: al-Nu'msn, 1959), I, 4-43. a MUHAMMAD HASAN YAS~N, AL "Muhammad b. Muhammad b, al-Nu'min al-Shaikh al-Mufid," Majallat al-Balcigh, 3 (1970), 5-24. D. SOURDEL, "L'Imamisme vu par le Cheikh al-Mufid," REZ, 40 (1972), 217-296; and an article in Islamic Civilization, 950-1 150, ed. R. Richards (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1973), pp. 187-200. The former includes a translation of al-Mufid's, Awd'il al-maqdldt. "BN TAYMIYYA, MinhcIj al-Sunna (Cairo : BGlHq, 132 1 H.), I, 31. See also p. 208, where the author refers to "late Shi'ites, like al-Mufid and his followers."

tj

wills men's wrong-doings1 But al-KhayyHf exempts from this charge "a small group of them who have associated with the Mu'tazila and believed in God's unity. The R$da have repudiated and excluded themW.a Al-Ash'ari, writing about the year 3001912, mentions a group of RHfidites who hold the Mu'tazilite theses on God's Unity. And he adds: "These people are late; as for their early confreres, they held anthropomorphism as we have already said."3 Ibn Taymiyya is correct, then, in his general description of the early ImHmis, but he failed to mention certain exceptions towards the end of the third century who borrowed important doctrines from the Mu'tazilites. These were members of the Nawbakhti family.4 I n another sense, however, Ibn Taymiyya is justified in assigning to al-Mufid and his pupils responsibility for the Mu'tazilite tone of later ImHmi theology, for events dictated that the fourth and early fifth centuries, rather than the third, would be the decisively formative age for Imimi thought. I n the year 3291941 died al-Kulaini, the compiler of al-Kifi, the first of the great collections of Imimi Shi'ite traditions to become authorative. In the next year, with the death of the fourth and last of the agents who claimed personal contact with the Hidden Imam, the Great Occultation began. And four years after that the Buyids began their 113 years of rule in ~ a ~ h d a d . / ~ h e of the chain linking the Shi'ites ending with their Hidden Imam, the collection of ImHmi traditions, and the accession to power of a Shi'ite government in Baghdad presented Imimi Shi'ism at once with the opportunity and the necessity for a century of bold and rapid intellectual development. The next great ImHmi scholar after al-Kulain? was the traditionist and jurist, Ibn BZibfiya al-Qummi (d. 381/991-92), whose Man li
1 AL-KHAWAT, Kitcib al-intijcir, ed. H. Nyberg (Cairo: Dfir al-Kutub al-Miqriyya, 1925), pp. 4-6. -a Ibid., p. 6. See also p. 127, where the author speaks of "a small group who recently associated with the Mu'tazila." AL-ASH'ARI, Maqdlcit al-islimiyin, ed. H. Ritter (2nd ed. ; "Bibliotheca islamica,'. NO. 1; Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1963), p. 35. See the excursus on the Banii Nawbakht at the end of this introduction, infia,

INTRODUCTION

yah$uruhu I-faqih is considered the second of the four books of the Imimis. One of his pupils was al-Shaikh al-Mufid, Abti 'Abd AllHh Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Nu'mHn al-HHrithi al-BaghdHdi, also called Ibn al-Mu'allim, who was to become known not only as a traditionist and jurist, but also as a theologian. The purpose of this book is to study the similarity and differences between al-Mufid's theology and Mu'tazilism, and then to try to see the place al-Mufid holds in the development of ImHmi Shi'ite theology. The first step will be to examine his theology alongside and in comparison with that of the Basran Mu'tazilite, al-QHdi 'Abd al-JabbHr. 'Abd alJabbHr has been chosen not only because he was a nearly exact contemporary of al-Mufid, but also because he is the only Mu'tazilite whose theological writings are largely extant. Al-Mufid's theology, it will soon appear, is closer to the old Baghdad school of Mu'tazilism than to 'Abd al-JabbHr's late Basran system. Throughout this comparison the attempt will be made to discern what was the Baghdad doctrine and how close al-Mufid came to it. Then, to see al-Mufid's place within ImZmi theology, he will be compared with his teacher and predecessor in the leadership of the ImHmis, Ibn Bibtiya al-Qummi, and then with his own pupil and successor, al-Sharif al-MurfadH-who also studied under 'Abd al-JabbHr. Therefore this book will have three parts of unequal length: first, the comparison of al-Mufid's theology with Mu'tazilism, then a comparison with Ibn BHbtiya, and finally a short comparison with al-MurtadH. The first comparison will show that in questions of God's Unity and Justice, al-Mufid's thought coincides with Mu'tazilism and in detail generally follows the Baghdad school rather than the Basran. Al-Mufid's main difference from Mu'tazilism is on the questions of the imamate and the position of the grave sinner in this life (against the Mu'tazilites, "middle position") and in the next (against the Mu'tazilite "promise and threat"). The comparison with Ibn BHbfiya will show that al-Mufid differs from his traditionist teacher in defending the use of reason in religious discussion, which is the theological process of kalEm. I t will also appear that the Shi'te traditionalism from which al-Mufid is departing is itself

closer to Mu'tazilite views than was the corresponding traditionism among the Sunnites. The comparison in the third part with al-MurtadH will show the latter to have taken a large step beyond al-Mufid in the direction of Mu'tazilism in that he begins his system not with the doctrine of man's duty to know God, as al-Mufid did, but with man's duty to use his reason to come to a knowledge of God, as the Basran Mu'tazilites did. Al-MurtadH will be seen to follow the Basrans on every point where al-Mufid follows the Baghdad school, but to stand with al-Mufid against the Mu'tazilites on the problems of the imamate and the position of the grave sinner in this world and the next. Thus al-Mufid will be seen as standing between the traditionism of Ibn BHbiiya and the more rationalist Basran Mu'tazilism of al-MurtadH.

The designation of Mu'tazilite schools as Baghdadi and Basran refers to their place of origin, not to the place where the theologians of one school or the other were living in al-Mufid's time. Bishr, b. alMu'tamir (d. 2101825) founded a Mu'tazilite school in Baghdad which was pro-Alid. Although persecuted for that reason by the Caliph HHriin al-Rashid: the school enjoyed favor under the pro-Alid al-Ma'miin and his immediate successors. Out of favor again from the reign of alMutawakkil (2321847-247/861), it was in its later phase led by such famous theologians as al-KhayyHf (d. 2901902) and his successor, Abti I-QHsim al-Balkhi, also known as al-Ka'bi (d. 3 19/931). The Basran school was at this later time receiving a definite stamp of its own in the teachings of Abfi 'Ali al-JubbH'i (d. 3031916) and especially of his son, Abfi HHshim (d. 3211933). His school, called the Bahshamiyya, became the dominant form of later Mu'tazilism. Among Abfi Hiishim's pupils was Abfi 'Abd AllHh al-Basri (d. 3671977-78), who was to head the Basran school in Baghdad. Basran teaching was introduced in Baghdad by Abii 'Umar Sa'id b. Muhammad al-Bghili (d. 3001912-13), a pupil of Abii 'Ali al-JubbH'i, IBNAL-MURTADA, Tabaqcit al-Mu'tnzila, ed. S. Diwald-Wilzer ("Bibliotheca islamica," No. 2 1 ; Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1961)' p. 52.

INTRODUCTION

whose teaching won over some of the old Baghdad school to the Basran side.1 Other Basran Mu'tazilites, including Abii H%shimhimself, then moved to Baghdad. During the time Aba HHshim was in Basra, a split occurred among the Mu'tazilites there, with Abii Bakr Ahmad b. 'Ali al-Ikhshid founding his own schoo1,a which probably retained more of Aba 'Ali's teaching than did the Bahshamiyya. Al-Ikhshid later moved to Baghdad, so that in the fourth century there were in Baghdad three groups of Mu'tazilites: the old Baghdad school, the Ikhhidiyya, and the Bahshamiyya or Basran ~chool.~ The unsympathetic critic, al-Malafi (d. 3771987-88), claimed that the Basran and Baghdadi Mu'tazilites accused each other of unbelief and that there were more than a thousand points of difference between them.* Of the three schools in Baghdad, the Bahshamiyya, or Basran school, was the most prominent in this later time. Abii 'Abd AllHh al-Basri's most famous pupil was 'Abd al-JabbHr b. Ahmad b. 'Abd 'al-JabbHr al-HamadhHni al-AsadHbHdi (b. cir. 3251936, d. 4151 1025). A follower of ShHfi'ite law, he began as an Ash'arite in theology but was converted to Mu'tazilism and studied under two pupils of Aba Hahim: Abii IshHq b. 'AyyHsh in Basra, and later Abil 'Abd AllHh al-Basri in Baghdad. 'Abd al-JabbHr remained in Baghdad until the year 3671978, when he was called to the Buyid court of Rayy by the vizier al-Sihib b. 'AbbHd, who was himself a Mu'tazilite. 'Abd al-JabbHr's major theological work is al-Mughni, fourteen of whose twenty books have been found and published.5 An overview of
This is pointed out b y H . buss^, Chalif und Grosskonig: die Buyiden im Iraq ("Beiruter Texte und Studien," No. 6 ; Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1969), p. 440 and n. 5, on the evidence o f Ibn al-Murtadl, pp. 91, ff. a Ibid., p. 100; AL-KHAT~B AL-BACHD-i, Ta'rikh Baghddd (Cairo: al-Khinji, 1931), IV, 309. See also J.-C. VADET,"Ibn al-Ikhshid, Enyclopedia of Islam (2nd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1960), 111, 807. a See BUSSE, pp. 439-41. "L-MALATI, al-Tanbfh wal-radd 'ald ah1 ahwd' wal-bidac, ed. M . al-Kawthari (Cairo : al-Thaqlfa I-islimiyya, 1949), p. 44. 6 'ABDAL-JABBAR, al-Mughni (Cairo: al-Mu'assasa 1-'Hmma I-mivriyya lil-ta'lif wal-anbl' wal-nashr, 196 1-65).

his whole theology is provided by Sharh al-upil al-khamsa, compiled by his disciple, al-Sayyid MHnakdim Ahmad b. Aljmad b. al-Husain b. Abi Hiishim al-Husaini. The contents of this work can be taken as the doctrine of 'Abd al-Jabblr, except for a part of the section on the imamate where Minakdim, a Zaidi, argues against his master's teaching.1 Another work, al-Muhit bil-taklif, compiled by 'Abd al-JabbHr's pupil, Abii Muhammad al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. Mattawaih's,Z also gives the master's docirine, sometimes with Ibn Mattawaih's own comments.

THE THEOLOGY OF

AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

INTRODUCTION

Mufid's own idea of the theologian's task. It will be seen later that 'Abd al-Jabbiir and al-Murtadii went even farther in the role they assigned to reason, maintaining that reason alone can establish the basic truths of religion and the beginning of moral obligation. But alMufid's practice of the kalzm as he understood it took him clearly beyond the limits set by the traditionists.

I n his Ta'rikh Bagndd, al-Khatib notes: Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Nu'miin, Abfi 'Abd Allah, known Ibn al-'Ilm [sic, for Ibn al-Mu'allim], shaikh of the Rijda, learned in their doctrines. He wrote many books in their errors and in defence of their beliefs and tenets, as well as polemics against the early generations, the Companions and the Followers, and against the generality of jurists who use ijtihid. He was one of the imams of error. A large number of people were ruined by him before God gave the Muslims rest from him. He died on Thursday, 2 Ramadiin, 413.l Such is the view of a Sunni traditionist. Al-Mufid's older contemporary Ibn al-Nadim attests with more sympathy the same effectiveness in argument. In his chapter on Shi'ite theologians, he says: Ibn al-Mu'allim, Abfi 'Abd Alliih. In our time the leadership of the theologians of the Shi'a has fallen to him. He is preeminent in composition of theology according to the doctrine of his colleagues, has a fine intellect and acute penetration. I have seen him and found him brilliant.2 The Fihrist was published in 3771987-88, when al-Mufid would have been forty years old. An estimate combining the Sunnite and Shi'ite points of view is given by al-Dhahabi, who says :
AL-KHAT~B - B A G H D ~ D ~231. AL 111, , IBNAL-NAD~M, al-Fihrisl, ed. G. Flugel (Beirut: Khayyat reprint, 1964), Kit56 p. 178. See also p. 197.

Al-Shaikh al-Mufid, Abii 'Abd Alliih Muhammad b. Mul>ammad b. al-Nu'miin al-Baghdiidi al-Karkhi; he was also known as Ibn al-Mu'allim, the scholar of the Shi'a and imam of the Rijda, author of many books. Ibn Abi Tayy said in his Ta'rikh al-imZmiyya: He was the preeminent shaikh of the party, the tongue of the ImEmiyya, their leader in theology, jurisprudence, and dialectic. He disputed with great distinction against partisans of every creed during the reign of the Buyids. He said: He gave abundant alms, was a man of wondrous humility, of much prayer and fasting, and coarse in his dress. Another said: 'Adud al-Dawla often used to visit al-Shaikh al-Mufid. He was a shaikh of middle height, thin, and of dark complexion. He lived seventy-six years and composed more than 200 works. His funeral was well attended, 80,000 of the R$da, the Shi'a, and the Kharijites paying him last honors. And God gave rest from him. His death was in Ramadiin. May God have mercy on him! l These three samples should be enough to show something of al-Mufid's importance as the leading Im5mi scholar of his day. The following are the events of his life. He was born on the eleventh of Dhii I-Qa'da, in the year 336p48 a 3381950' in 'Ukbarii, a town on the east bank of the Tigris halfway petween Baghdad and Mosul. He came very early with his father to ,&ghdad and began his education. This information comes from alMajmZ'a of Warriim b. Amir FawBris, a sixth-century Imiimi author.4 The same source goes on to say that al-Mufid was first sent to study under Abii 'Abd Alliih al-Basri and then to one Abii YLir who lived in the quarter of the Khuriisiin Gate. Unable to cope with his pupil's questions, Abfi Y5sir sent him with a guide to 'Ali b. 'Is5 al-Rummiini,

AL-DHAHAB~: a/-'ibarfi khabar man ghabar, ed. SalBh al-Din al-Munajjid Kit56 ("The Arab Heritage," No. 10; Kuwait: Matba'at hukiimat al-Kuwait, 1960-66), 111, 114-15. A L - N A J ~ S H ~ , a/-Red1 (Tehran: Mu~tafavi,n.d.), p. 315. KitrSb MUHAMMADAL-HASAN B. AL-TOsi, al-Fihrist, M. Sadiq A1 Bahr al-'Ulfim (2nd ed.; Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 196l), p. 186. * Cited by NORALLAH SHOSTAR?, bfajdis a[-nlu'minin (Tehran : IslHmiyya, 1375 H.), I, 463 ff. On WarrBm, see C. BROCKELMANN, Geschichte der Arabischen Litferatur (3rd ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1943), S. I, p. 709.

+.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH

AL-MUF~D

INTRODUCTION

the celebrated Muctazilite commentator on the Quran and disciple of Ibn al-1khshid.l There, the story goes, al-Mufid heard a Basran ask al-RummHni what he thought about the traditions of Ghadir ILhumm, where 'Ali was promised the succession, and the Cave, where Abii Bakr stayed with the Prophet. Al-Rummlni answered: "As for the tradition of the Cave, i t is knowledge (diriya) ; as for the tradition of Ghadir, it is a report (riurgya). The report does not oblige the assent that the knowledge obliges." When the Basran had left, al-Mufid asked what is the status of one who kills a just imam. Al-Rummini replied that the killer is a grave sinner. AlMufid asked if 'Ali was a true imam. Al-RummHni replied in the affirmative. "Then", said al-Mufid, "what about the Battle of the Camel and Talha and al-Zubair?" "They repented," replied al-RummHni. "As for the tradition of the Camel," retorted al-Mufid, "it is knowledge. As for the repentance, i t is a report." Al-RummHni then sent him back to Abii 'Abd AllHh with a note giving him the honorific title of "al-Mufid." There is, however, reason for doubting the truth of this story, since Shiistari also quotes the Kitib mqibih al-qulfib, which makes this incident and dialogue take place between Ibn al-Mu'allim and 'Abd al-JabbHr in the latter's discussion circle, after which the QHdi is supposed to have taken the young Ibn al-Mucallim by the hand, led him to a place a t the head of the assembly, and pronounced him truly r n ~ f d . ~ One encounter of al-Mufid with al-RummHni is described in al-Fusfil al-mukhtGra.* I t is a long argument about Fadak and Abii Bakr's veracity. But there is no mention of al-Mufid being a student or of his receiving a title. Ibn al-Nadim who wrote about 3771987, does not mention the title "al-Mufid." On AL-RUMMANI, see ibid., S. I, p. 175, and IBN AL-RIURTADA, p. 110. SHUSTAR~, I, 464; the same is found in MUHAMMAD BAQIR AL-KHWANSARI, Kitrib raw& al-janntt (2nd ed.; Tehran: lithograph, 1367 H.), p. 538. a SH~~STA~Z~, I, 464-65. AL-MUF~D, al-FqB1 al-muklttrira min al-'uygn wal-maluisitz (2nd ed.; Najaf: a]Haidariyya, 1962), pp. 269-74.

Ibn Shahrashfib has anothcr account of the origin of this title. He says i t was conferred upon the Shaikh by the Hidden Imam.' And in fact two of three letters purportedly written by the Hidden Imam to the Shaikh during the years 410 to 413 are given by al-Tabarsi. The address of the first of them is: "To the just brother and rightly guided friend, .~ al-Shaikh al-Mufid Abii 'Abd AllHh," e t ~ Quite possibly these letters, whoever their author was, were written during the lifetime of al-Mufid. And this would explain the origin of the title, making it mean that the Shaikh was "useful" to the Hidden Imam as well as "instructive" to his disciples. Who were the ImHmi theologians who taught al-Mufid? Al-NajBshi mentions : TZhir GhulHm Abi 1-Hubaish [which undoubtedly should read : Abi I-Jaish]. He was theologian, and with him our Shaikh Abii 'Abd AllHh - may God have mercy on - began his studies (qiri'a). H e has written books about which the Shaikh - God be pleased with him - used to speak.3 Probably this man is the Abii YHsir already mentioned as a teacher of al-Mufid .4 GhulBm Abi I-Jaish is evidently a pupil of the Abii 1-Jaish mentioned by al-Tiisi, who says : Al-Muzaffar b. Muhammad al-KhurHsZni, named Abii I-Jaish, a theologian. H e has written books on the imamate. And he knew traditions. He was one of the students (ghilmgn) of Abii Sahl alNawbakhti. Among his books is a book of faults whicp he named Ma'r I MUHAMMAD L ~ SHAHRASHOB,ilim 01-'ulam6', ed. M. $kdiq A Bahr B. ' A B. (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1961), p. 113. a AL-TABARS~, al-Ihtijcij, ed. M. BHqir al-Kharsln (Najaf: al-Nu'mln, 1966), 11, 322. AL-NAJAsH~, 155. Tlhir Ghullm Abi I-Jaish is also briefly mentioned by p. AL-TOsi, al-Fihrist, p. 112. See supra, p. 12. Al-Zanjlni, without naming his authority, makes this identification. See AL-MUF~D, Awd'il al-maqriltt fil-rnadhrihib al-mukhtrirGt, ed. 'Abblsquli $. Wajdi, with introd. and notes by Fad1 Alllh al-Zanjlni (2nd ed.; Tabriz: Charandlbi, 1371 H.), Introduction, pp. lrim, fri'. Al-Kharsln also identifies him so in AL-TOST, Tahdhib, I, 12, although on p. 7 he had given his agnomen as Abii Bakr.
al-'Uliim
I

lllIll

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

INTRODUCTION

Fa'alta fa-li tahm, a big book; and he has a Kitib naqd kitib al-'uthminiyya lil-Jihic, Kitib al-acrid, al-NukatJ21-imima, and others. Our Shaikh al-Mufid - God have mercy on him - studied under him and heard traditions from him.l
-

Thus a l - M f i d is linked to Abfi Sahl al-Nawbakhti. Another teacher of al-Mufid who was also a pupil of Abfi Sahl was Abii 1-Husain 'Ali b. 'Abd Allah b. Wasaif al-NHshiYal-Asghar. AlTiisi says of him : 'Ali b. Wasaif Abii I-Husain al-NHshi' : he was a theologian, poet, and reciter of the Quran. He has written books. He followed the ZHhirite school in jurisprudence. Al-Shaikh al-Mufid - God have mercy on him - has told us about him.8 Hence it appears that al-Mufid had three teachers who were connected, two of them immediately, with the older ImHmi-Mu'tazilite line of the Nawbakhtis.

Ibn ShahrHshiib3says that al-Muf?d also studied under.Abfi 1-QHsirn

Ja'far b. Mubarnmad b. Ja'far b. MfisH b. Qiiliiya al-Qummi al-Baghdgdi (d. 3681978-9),l who would be the son of the Abii Ja'far b. Qfiltiya whom Ibn SharahrHshfib mentioned. A more important traditionist was Abti Ja'far Mubammad b. 'Ali al-IJusain b. Miisl b. BZbiiya al-Qumrni, known as al-Shaikh alSadiiq. He was born probably about the year 3111923-24 into a distinguished family of learned Imtimis. In 352/962-63 Ibn BHbfiya came to Baghdad. In 3541964-65 he was in Kufa.a I n 3551965-66 he came again to Baghdad where, young as he was, the leading shaikhs and traditionists listened to him teach.3 Among his pupils was al-Mufid.4 In 3671978 and 3681979 he was in Nistibfir and T i i ~ Then he want to .~ Balkh, where he composed Man li yahduruhu 1-faqih, which he read to the shaikhs of that land in 3721983. After that he was invited to the court of Rayy by the Buyid ruler, Rukn al-Dawla, on whose behalf he engaged in controversies.'' Exposed, at the court of Rayy, to attacks by Mu'tazilite theologians, he wrote his Kitib al-tawhid. Its aim, he says, is to defend the ImHmis against false accusations of anthropomorphism and determinism.' Finally, however, his teaching of tradition was repressed by the Mu'tazilite vizier al-SHFib b. 'AbbT~d.~ died in 381-991192. He

1.

'Ali b. Muhammad al-Rifa' (about whom nothing else is known) and


Abfi Ja'far b. Qiiliiya. The center of Imamite traditionism had in the third century shifted from Kufa to Qumm and KhorHsHn. I t was the traditionist school of Qumm that reacted strongly against the Nawbakhtis arid their tendency to adopt Mu'tazilite views and method^.^ And at least two shaikhs of this school traveled to Baghdad and taught during the years of al-Mufid's own education. Al-NajHshi says al-Mufid was a pupil of Abii I-QHsim
A~-Tiisi,al-Fihrisf, p. 198. AL-NAJA~HI, 330-31, says the same and puts pp. his death in the year 3671977-78. a AL-TOsi, al-Fihrist, pp. 115-16. Ibn Khallikin's Biographical Dictionary, trans. M.G. de Slane ("Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland," No. 57; Paris, 1842-7I), 11, 307, says he learned theology from Abii Sahl. See also IQBAL, p. 105. Ibn SHAHR~IIOB, 113. p. W. MADELUNG, "Imamism and Mu'tazilite Theology," p. 17, points this out.

AL-NAJASHI, 95. For more on Ibn Qfilfiya see AL-K~wiCNshi, 1 4 . p. p.

a IBN L B ~ A , B al-Muqni'a wal-Hidiya, ed. M. b. Mahdi al-WSCi~ al-Khurbiini

(Tehran: al-Isl8miyya, 1377 H.) Introduction, p. 24. This information is taken by the editor from the isnids of Ibn BABWA'S'UyCn akhbir al-Ridi, chap. vi. 8 AL-NAJ&H~, 303. p. A~-Tiisi, al-Fihrist, p. 186; and passim in al-Mufid's writings. al-Muqni'a, Introduction, p. 24. This information comes from IBNBAB~IYA, his Ama-li. IBN BABOYA, al-Muqni'a, Introduction, p. 25. These debates are narrated by S H ~ S T AI, ~ , R 456-63, and by AL-KHW~CNS~CR~, pp. 533-34. IBN BAB~IYA, Kitib (11-Tawbid, ed. HIshim al-Husaini (Tehran: Maktabat al-Sadtiq, 1387 H.), p. 16. On the modifications which the Kitdb al-tawhid shows in Ibn Biibfiya's own doctrine of God's justice, see infra, pp. 347-49. This is told by A O HAWAN B AL-TAWH~D~, Akhkiq al-warirain, ed. h . b. TSwit i al-Tanji (Damascus: al-Majma' 1-'ilmi I-'arabi, 1965), p. 167.

INTRODUCTION

In his house or mosque on the street Darb RiyZh in Karkh, al-Mufid conducted a discussion circle open to all the learned.1 At other times he took part in discussions at the homes of other important ImZmis, as for example al-Sharif Abfi 'Abd AllZh Muhammad b. Muhammad b. TZhir al-Miisawi, whose father had been naqib of the Alids till he died in 3461 957-58.a The emir Adud al-Dawla (d. 3721983) used to visit al-Mufid's discussion^.^ Indicative of al-Mufid's prestige as a teacher was the choice of him as mentor for the two sons of the naqib Abii Ahmad al-Husain b. MfisZ al-Mfisawi, al-Radi and al-MurtadZ.4 At Abfi &mad's death i n 396, al-Radi (b. 359/970), who had been his father's deputy since 381, became naqib until his own death in 406/1015. Then the office fell to.his brother, al-MurtadZ (b. 355/967), who held it until his death in 4361 1044.6 Stories are told of al-Mufid's wit in debate with the leaders of opposition parties: the Sunni Ibn al-BZqillZni and the Muctazilite 'Abd al-JabbHr.
IBN AL-JAWZ~, 01-Muntaqamfita'rikh al-multik wal-umam (Baiderlbld: Dl'irat al-ma'grif al-'uthmlniyya, 1358 H.), VIII, 1 1. a AL-Mrni~, al-F~til, 1, 11; L. MASSIGNON, et naqibs baghdadiens," pp. "Cadis Opera Minora, ed. Y. Moubarac (Beirut: DHr al-ma'lrif, 1963), I, 263. AL-DHAHAB~, 111, 114. 'Ibar, MASSIGNON, et naqibs," pp. 263-64, shows him holding the office of "Cadis naqib intermittently for forty years, being replaced and then restored to office six times. IBN KATH~R, al-Bidiiya wal-nihiya (Cairo: al-SaHda, 1929), XI, 333, says that Bahl' al-Dawla nominated him in 394 as supervisor of the mapilim court, leader of the Pilgrimage, naqib of the Alids, and chief qdi, but that the Caliph prevpted him from assuming the last named office. See also buss^, pp. 294-95. ABI On al-Mufid's appointment as teacher to Abii e m a d ' s twp sons, see IBN L-HADID, nahj al-baligh, ed. Muhammad Abii I-Fadl Ibrihim (Cairo: 'Is% Sharb al-Halabi, 1959)' I, 41. The story is that one night al-Shaikh al-Mufid dreamed that Fltima, the Prophet's daughter, came to his mosque in Karkh bringing her two young sons, al-Hasan and al-Husain, and asked that he teach them. Al-Mufid awoke amazed at the dream. The next morning there came into his mosque Flfima bint Nagr, surrounded by her servants, bringing him her two small sons, al-Radi and al-MurtadH, asking that he teach them. MASSIGNON, et naqibs," p. 264. "Cadis

An anecdote from the ImHmi side has it that once Ibn al-BZqillHni was losing an argument with al-Mufid and tried a bit of flattery to keep his adversary from pressing his advantage. I n admiration of the breadth of al-Mufid's learning, he exclaimed, "Do you have a spoon in every pot?" "Yes", replied al-Mufid, "and your figure of speech is from your father's department." l The allusion was to his name being derived from "broadbeans" (biqilli). Which side has the last laugh, however, depends on who is telling the story. From the Sunni side it is related: I heard a shaikh say that Ibn al-Mucallim was 'with him one day, and when the discussion between them grew hot, Ibn al-Mucallim threw at him a handful of broadbeans which he had ready, thus alluding to the derivation of his name so as to embarrass and circumvent him. The QZdi immediately put his hand up his own sleeve and threw at him a whip which he had ready. So he was amazed at his cleverness and readiness for eventualities.2 The whip (dirra) was of course the instrument a schoolmaster (mu'allim) used to speed the learning process. The Sunnite al-Khatib al-BaghdZdi relates that once Ibn al-Mucallim, sitting in a circle of his partisans, saw Ibn al-BHqillHni approaching and said, "Here comes ShaitZn." Ibn al-BZqillZni happened to hear the remark, and when he had taken his seat turned to Ibn al-Mucallim and recited. "We have sent devils to unbelievers to confound them with confusion." The Shi'ite Shiistari, however, tells the same story with the roles reversed,4 and he admits that the same is told of the early Shicitetheologian, ShaitZn al-TZq. Serious disputes are recorded between al-Mufid and Ibn al-BZqillZni on the appointment of 'Ali as successor to the Prophet and about the use of analogy in legal mattema SH~STAR~, I, 467. Al-Qldi 'IYAD,Tartib al-mudirik, cited in AL-BAQILLANI, al-Tamhid, al-Khudairi and M. A b i ~ Rid5 (Cairo: Dlr al-fikr al-'arabi, 1947)' p. 246. (&ran, 19:83; AL-KHAT~B AL-BAGHDAD~, V, 279. S I ~ ~ S TI, 467. , AR~ ti See infra, p. 37, $ 135. AL-MUF~D, al-Flytil, p. 53. On this see infra, pp. 292-93.

ed.

M.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH A L - M U F ~ D

INTRODUCTION

More pertinent to this study is the contact al-Mufid had with the Mu'tazilites. Al-Fu~til al-muklztira men tioils these names of otherwise unknown Mu'tazilites present at discussions wit11 al-Mufid: 'Arziila,l Abfi 'Amr al-Shafawi,2 the QPdi Abfi Muhammad al-'Umiini, Abfi Bakr b. al-Daqqiiq,3 and "a Mu'tazilite shaikh from Rayy, revered both for the station of his ancestors and his connection with the government" who was probably 'Abd al-Jabbiir. And at other times it is mentioned that an unnamed Mu'tazilite or group of Mu'tazilites were present at a discussion. The Buyid rulers of Baghdad were of Zaidi Shi'ite background and inclined to sympathize with the Imamites as well. But their political interests took precedence over religious consicleratiolls. They were governing in a Sunnite capital, which however contained an important Imamite minority, concentrated in the suburb of KarkhS5The Buyid religious pollcy was to treat Sunnite aild Shi'ite with equality. As Cahen says: They intended to set up a sort of 'Abbiisid-Shi'i condominium which freed the Shi'is from the obligation of a certain takiyya and provided them, as well as the Sunnis, with an official organization. Basically, they were reviving, from the Shi'i angle, what had been the dream of many 'AbbZsids at the time of al-Ma'mfin. Thus, they believed, they acquired a strong following, without at the same time alienating the rest of the p ~ p u l a t i o n . ~ In pursuit of this policy, the Buyids had organized the Alids into an autonomous body with their own head, or naqib corresponding to the Abbasid organization of the Hashimites. Al-Mufid's connection with some of the Alid naqibs has been mentioned already. Opposed to this balancing policy of the Buyids was a growing effort to restore Sunnite dominance, centering in the Caliph al-QZdir, whose long Zbid., p. 7. Zbid., p. 8. Zbid., p. 11. Ibid., p. 97.
For the distribution of Shi'ites in see buss^, pp. 406 ff.

'F"
(,",'
-8.

I,

reign stretched froin 3811991 to 42211031. The first encouragement for this Sunnite resurgence came from the Sultan Mahmiid b. Subuktikin, who in the year 3871997 took control of KhurZsHn and publicly declared himself protector of Sunnism. Thereafter the Caliph al-QHdir began to withdraw gradually from the protection of the Buyids and assert his personal authority. In 39411003-04 he refused to recognize BahP' alDawla's nomination of the Alid naqib, Abfi Ahmad, father of al-Radi and al-MurtadZ, as chief qi of Baghdad.1 Al-QZdir also undertook a a propaganda campaign against the Fatimids, procuring in 402110 11-12 a memorial signed by the leading Shi'ite and Sunnite scholars declaring spurious the alleged ancestry of the caliphs of Egypt. He caused the Mu'tazilite 'Ali b. Sa'id al-Isfakhri (d. 404/1013-14) to compose a refutation of the Bqiniyya, and in 40811017- 18 al-QHdir sent representatives to Sultan Mahmfid b. Subuktikin proposing a common struggle against both the Betiniyya and the Mu'tazila. And in 409/1018-19 he had a Sunnite traditionist creed published which condemned the doctrines of the Mu'tazilites and RPfidites.2 Another factor in the Sunnite resurgence, in direct proportion to the growing strength and prestige of the Caliph, was the marked increase in frequency and violence of the chronic rioting between the Shi'ites and Sunnites of Baghdad. In the year 3891999 the Sunnites began celebrating two feast days of their own in rivalry with the two Shi'ite feasts established by Mu'izz al-Dawla in 3.511962. Thz Sunnites mourned the death of Muscab b. al-Zubair on the eighteenth of Muharam, eight days after the Shi'ite 'AshCri'. And on the twenty-sixth of Dhii l-Hijja, eight days after the Shi'ite observance of Ghadir Khumm, the Sunnites began to celebrate the Yawm al-GhPr, commemorating Abfi Bakr's stay with the Prophet in the Cave.3 The public celebrations of these four feasts were recurrent occasions for riots between the factions. In the year 39211003 clashes between gangs of young men ('ayydrCn) 14, n. 4. LAOUST,Profession de Foi d'lbn Batfa (Damascus: Institut fran~ais La de Damas, 1958), pp. xcii-xcvi. IBN AL-ATHIR, al-Kimilfi ta'rilch (Cairo: Bflllq, 1290 H.), IX, 58.
a See H.

See supra, p.

Baghdad and in other

parts of the

empire,

C. CAHEN, "Buyids," ELB,I, 1352.

THE THEOLOGY OF

A - H I H AL-MUF~D LS AK

INTRODUCTION

became so violent that the Buyid governor of Iraq was sent in to settle it. Ibn al-Jawzi says: The troubles with the gangs of young men increased in Baghdad. There were an Abbasid and an Alid among them. They took to so acts of robbery and pli~nder~ that the people were exasperated with them. So BahHYal-Dawla sent 'Amid al-Juyiish Abii 'Ali b. 'UstFidh Hurmiiz to Iraq to bring it under control. He entered it on Tuesday, 17 Dhfi I-Hijja, and Baghdad was adorned for fear of him. He bound together the Abbasid and the Alid and drowned them in the river. And he drowned a number of the wildest Turks. He forbade the Sunna and the Shi'a to hold public displays. After that he banished Ibn al-Mu'allim, the Shi'ite jurist, from the city, and peace ensued.1 I t does not appear that Ibn al-Mu'allim was involved in starting the riots. Rather it seems that, having taken stern action against the Sunnite side by prohibiting public celebration of their impending feast and executing some of the Turks supporting them, the governor needed to make some gesture of impartiality by sending the leading Shi'ite jurist ! into temporary exile. Al-Mufid was involved again in the troubles of the year 398, but here too the Sunnite historians give him no responsibility for starting them. Ibn al-Jawzi says : On Sunday, the 10th of Rajab, there was rioting between the people of Karkh and the jurists at Qati'at al-Rabi'. The reason was that some HHshimites from the district of the Basra Gate went to Abii 'Abd AllHh Muhammad b. al-Nu'mHn, known as Ibn al-Mu'allim, the Shi'ite jurist, in his mosque in Darb RiyBh, and abused him. His companions became angry, and they went and called out the people of Karkh. They went to the house of the QHdi Abii Muhammad b. al-AkfFini and Abii HBmid al-Isfariiyini and attacked them. And they looked for the jurists to attack them. A great riot arose out of thatS2 Ibn al-AkfFini was the chief q5di of Baghdad,3 and al-Isfariiyini was a IBN AL-JAWZI, 220. VII, Ibid., p. 237. Ibid., p. 273; AL-KHAT~B AL-BAGHDAD~, X, 141-42.

Shzfi'ite q&!i.l The next event to be recounted, nine days later, may in its beginnings have been the original cause of the first attack upon alMufid. Ibn al-Jawzi continues : I t happened that he published a text of the Quran (mushaf) said to be the text of Ibn Mas'iid, which was different from the [other] texts. So the nobles (ashrzf), the qzdis, and jurists met on Friday, the 29th of Rajab, and the text was shown to them. Abii HZmid alIsfarlyini and the jurists advised burning it. So this was done in their p r e ~ e n c e . ~ Ibn al-Jawzi does not make clear who "he", the publisher of the text, was. According to Ibn Kathir, it was the Shi'a.3 At any rate, the publisher was not al-Mufid, for it will be seen below that he considered the alleged additions to the text which were attributed to Ibn Mas'iid to be based upon traditions of one and therefore ~ n r e l i a b l e . ~ The burning of the Shi'ite text, however, brought on its own consequences. Ibn al-Jawzi continues :

And in Sha'bln written word was sent to the Caliph that a man from the people of Nahrawln Bridge was at the shrine in al-HHYir on the fifteenth calling for the one who had burned the text and insulting him. So he [i.e., the caliph] ordered him to be sought for. He was arrested and sentenced to death. The people of Karkh spoke about the one who was killed, for he was a Shi'ite. There was a battle between them and the people of the Basra Gate, Bzb al-Sha'ir, and al-Qalll'in. The young men of Karkh made for the house of Aba Hlmid, and so he moved thence to the D i r al-Qutn, as they shouted: "Yl Hlkim! Y Mansiir !" H
executing the Shi'ite, the Sunnite caliph had interfered in the contest, and now the Shi'ite crowd was shouting for his rival in Cairo, al-Ulkim. This cry of the outraged mob betokened a threat to the Caliph's position,
IBN KHALLIKXN, I, 53-55; buss^, p. 427. IBN AL-JAWZ~, 237. VII, IBN JLTH~R, 339, quoting Ibn al-Jawzi. XI, AL-Mmb, "al-Masii'il al-'ukbariyya," Ms. Najaf: Maktabat Ayat AllHh al-yakim al-'Hmma, No. 1087, p. 49. See infra, p. 96, n. 1. IBN AL-JAWZ~, 237-38. VII,
a

INTRODUCTION

and he thereupon intervened in force, sending out his own guard to the fight. Ibn al-Jawzi continues : That reached the Caliph and irritated him. He dispatched the servants who were at his gate to the aid of the Sunnites, and the young men helped them. The people of Karkh got the worst of it, and the district adjoining Nahr al-DajZj was burned. Then the nobles and the merchants went together to the house of the Caliph to ask him to pardon what the ignorant mob had done.1 The Sunnite faction had clearly won, and the Shi'ite notables had been compelled to go to the Caliph and apologize for the riots. Now the Buyid governor of Iraq comes upon the scene and administers punishment to both sides. Ibn al-Jawzi says : The news reached 'Amid al-Juyiish. He went and entered Baghdaa and sent word to Abti 'Abd AllHh b. al-Mu'allim, the Shi'ite jurist, that he should leave the city and not stay in it. And he put him under guard. So he went out on Sunday evening, 23 RamadZn. And he proceeded to arrest anyone who had a hand in the riot. He scourged some and imprisoned others; and Abti HHmid returned to his house. He banned the popular preachers (qu.~.~z?) holding from forth. 'Ali b. Mazyad interceded for Ibn al-Mu'allim. And the popular preachers were permitted to carry on as usual, on the condition that they should stop inciting riots.2 Again the Sunnite historians do not say that al-Mufid had a hand in the riots. Rather it seems that with the political leadership of the Imamite community vested in the naqib, whose presence was therefore necessary for the peace and good order of the capital, the governor needed someone whom he could banish without political consequences, yet who was important enough to soothe Sunnite feelings. A scapegoat was found in the person of the leading Im5mi jurist. Four years later the caliph al-Qgdir took a step against the Fatimid caliph by having a document issued impugning the Alid ancestry of his
Ibid., p. 238. Zbid., 'AIi b. Mazyad was the Shi'ite chief of the Banii Asad in the district of Villa, where al-MuTid must have gone when he lcft Baghdad. See BUSSE, 76. p.

rival's dynasty. Prominent ShiCites,al-Mufid among them, signed thii document.' In the year 409/1018 al-Mufid was again temporarily banished by the stern governor, Ibn SahlZn. Ibn al-Athir says: News reached him [i.e., Ibn SahlHn] of the worsening riots in Baghdad. So he went there and entered it on the last day of Rabi' 11. The gangs of young men fled from him. He banished a number of Abbasids and others. And he banished Abti 'Abd AllZh b. al-Nu'mZn the Shi'ite jurist.2 Meanwhile al-Mufid was engaged in prolific writing and lecturing. His written works are numbered at about two hundred, but it is possible to date only a few of his extant writings. In al-Mufid's Fifth Letter on the Occultation, a Mu'tazilite objector expresses amazement that al-Mufid could believe an Imam born 145 years ago is still aliveasAl-Mufid in his al-Irshid dates the birth of the Twelfth Imam in 255, and so the Fifth Letter on the Occulation must have been written in the year 400. And bringing up the same objection in the First Letter on the Occultation (also known as al-Fzqzil al-'ashara fil-ghaiba), al-Mufid mentions that it is now the year 411.4 And al-Mufid's Amcili were dictated between the years 404 and 41 1.6 The most important of al-Mufid's extant theological works is his Awd'il al-maqcilZt fil-madhihib al-mukhtdrcit. Al-Mufid states his purpose in the beginning: May God confirm in His obedience and prolong in power and eloquence our noble Naqib! By God's help and will I am setting down in this book points he has selected on the difference between

IBNAL-ATH~R, 88. IX, Ibid., p. 115. AL-MUP~D, Khams rasi'il fi ithbcit al-buja (Najaf: DSr al-kutub al-tijHriyya, 8951), Fifth Letter, p. 4. AL-MUF~D, a2-Zrshdfi ma'rifat hyhj Alkih 'a16 1-'ibcid (Najaf: al-Ijaidariyya, 1962), p. 346. AL-MUP~D, Khams rasi'il, First Letter, p. 19. This text is very corrupt. The '~'evioussentence, which puts the birth of the Twelfth Imam in the year 210, must :ontain a misprint. The corresponding place in the al-uaidariyya edition: AL-MUPID, al-F~ril aC'asharafi I-ghaiba (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1951), p. 12, does not make sense. AL-MUP~D, Amili al-Shaikh al-Muf;d (3rd ed.; Najaf: al-uaidariyya, 1962), PP. 9, 215.

INTRODUCTION

the Shi'a and the Mu'tazjla, the distinction between the Justice party ('adliyya) of the Shi'a and the Mu'tazilites who also hold the doctrine of Justice, and the further dissimilarity of the latters' principles from those which the Imamites agree upon. And I shall mention doctrines derived from the fundamentals of [God's] Unity and Justice which I myself have chosen, and theses from the fine points of theology. [And I shall mention] what therein is in agreement with the Nawbakhtis and what differs from their views, and which of the Mu'tazilites and other theologians agree with that in doctrine. The intention is that it [i.e., this book] may serve as a firm basis for testing be1ief.l

"

/ Then al-Mufid defines the essence of Shi'ism as "loyal adherence to the


Commander of the Faithful [i.e., 'Ali], and belief in his imamate after the Apostle without any intervening period, and the denial of the imamate The of those who preceded him in the position of the ~aliphate."~ essential point of Mu'tazilism, he says, is belief in the "middle position" To according to the teaching of WHsil b. 'AtiiY.3 belong to either party it is enough to hold that party's essential point. But none of the Shicites, not even the Nawbakhtis, held the "middle position," and so, no matter how many other doctrines they held in common with the Mu'tazilites, they were not Mu'tazilites according to al-Mufid's strict definition. Next in importance among al-Mufid's extant theological works J is his Ta-shih al-i'tiqidit (also known as sharh 'aqi'id al-Sadiiq), which is a commentary on Ibn BBbiiyaYsRisilat al-i'tiqidit. Here al-Mufid, explaining and often "correcting" Ibn BBbiiya's creed, indicates where he differs from his traditionist master. ' These two books, where al-Mufid defines his position as against Mu'tazilites and the Shi'ite traditionists, will be the main source the first and second sections of this study.
1

:,,
[)
,

F'

a theologian of Mu'tazilite tendency. He disputed with Abii 'Ali al-Jubbii'i and Thiibit b. Qurra. The titles of his numerous works indicate that he followed the Mu'tazilite theses on the Unity of God and on human power to act,l but that he also disagreed with and argued against various members of that school, probably on the question of the imamate. The titles also indicate that he opposed the use of analogy (qiyis) and personal opinion (ra'y) in legal matters. O n the imamate, he wrote against extremists among the Shi'a. Al-NajBshi says that he read Abii Sahl's Kitib al-tanbih fil-imima with his own teacher, al-M~fid.~ Ibn al-Nadim says that Abii Sahl held a singular view of the occultation: that the Twelfth Imam died in hiding but was succeeded by his son, and this hidden succession from fathers to sons will continue until God sees fit to have one of his descendants appear as the Mahdi.8 'Abbiis IqbHl points out that no other Shi'ite writings attribute this opinion to Abii Sahl, nor does the section of his book, al- Tanbihfil-imima, which Ibn BBbiiya quotes in his Kitib kamil al-din express this view. IqbHl concludes that even if Ibn al-Nadim is correct in attributing to Abii Sahl such an opinion, he later most probably changed this view and brought his doctrine on the occultation into accord with that of the majority of the ImBrni~.~ The other outstanding theologian of the Nawbakhti family was Abii Sahl's more philosophically inclined nephew, Abii Muhammad al-Hasan b. MEsB al-Nawbakhti (d. between 300/912 and 316/923).6 A list of titles of his works shows that he debated with Abii 'AIi al-Jubbii'i and with Abii 1-QBsim al-Balkhi, and that he wrote a "Refutation of the
IBNAL-NAD~M, 176-77; AL-TOsi, al-Fihrist, pp. 35-36; AL-NAJBHI, 25; pp. p. IQBAL, pp. 1 16-23. For a description of the ~oliticalrole of the Nawbakhti family, and especially Abii Sahl, see L. MASSIGNON, La Passion d'al-uosayn ibn Mansour al-uallij, martyr mystique de l'lslam (Paris: Geuthner, 1922), pp. 142-51. a AL-NAJASH~,25. p. IBNAL-NAD~M,176. p. IQBAL, 1 1 1. This refers to IBNBABOYA, p. Kifib kamil al-din (Tehran: lithograph. 1301 H.), pp. 53-56. IQBKL, 125. p. !<

Abii Sahl IsmBCi1 'Ali b. Ishiiq b. Abi Sahl b. Nawbakht (2371 b. 851-52 to 3 111923-24) was the political leader of the Imamite party and
1

Awh'il, pp. 1-2. The naqib is probably al-Radi, who held office from 396 to 406. Ibid., p, 3. Ibid., pp. 4-5.

INTRODUCTION

holders of the Middle Position on the Threat," as well as works in defence of his doctrine on the imamate.l Most probably al-Mufid has these two individuals in mind when ne referred to the opinions of the Banii Nawbakht in his Aurh'il al-maqdht. According to al-Mufid, the Nawbakhtis denied that the Imams had worked miracles and that their bodies are now in the Garden,2 yet they held it provable not only from tradition, but also from reason and analogy that the Imams knew all arts and language^.^ The Nawbakhtis, according to al-Mufid, held that the Sunnites had made additions and .~ deletions in the true text of the Q ~ r a n This would have been a very sore point of conflict with all Sunnites. Al-Mufid also reports that the d between Nawbakhtis held the Mu'tazilite - o c t r i ~ , o f m ~ t u a 1 ~ c a n c e 1 1 a t i ~ deeds of obedience and disobedience or reward and puni~hment,~ that many infidels in doing good deeds are obeying God, and that one who has once believed can afterwards lose his faith.8 The Nawbakhtis, he says, also agree with the Muctazilites that some sins are small of themselves,' but they disqgree with both al-Mufid and the Mu'tazilites in , predicating faith absolutely of the believing grave sinner.8 -Since in the Nawbakhti view ----_ is an_absolute difference bethere tween grave and small sins, and since there is mutual cancellation between good and bad deeds, they would logically, with the Mu'tazilites, consign the grave sinner to the Fire forever, although they did not put the believing sinner in a middle position in this life, as the Mu'tazilites 1 did. In all of the questions just mentioned, except for the theses of the ,corruption of the Quran text and the middle position of the sinner, the Nawbakhtis are aligned with the Muctazilites and in disagreement with al-Mufid.
I

On one point, however, the Nawbakhtis followed the early ImZmi theologian, Hishiim b. al-Hakam, and the lone Mu'tazilite, Mucammar, b--in definingman as a soul1 and in this al-Mufid agrees with them. A link existed, then, between Abii Sahl al-Nawbakhti and al-Mufid by way of three of the latter's teachers. But the Nawbakhtis were closer generally to the Mu'tazilites than al-Mufid was. The KitrZb al-yhqiit, by the otherwise unknown figure, Abii IshZq Ibriihim b. Nawbakht, is a short theological treatise upon which al'AllOma al-Hilli wrote a ~ o m m e n t a r y .'AbbBs IqbZl thought that the ~ Kithb al-yhqiit was written in the first half of the fourth century.3 But W. Madelung has shown that the ideas contained in the Kith6 aal-yhqiit do not correspond to those al-Mufid ascribes to the Nawbakhtis and has concluded that this work must have been composed in the middle of the fifth century or later.4 Hence a consideration of the Kitcib al-y@Gt is not within the scope of this study of al-Mufid's theology.

To show the range of al-Mufid's interests, it may be useful here to list the titles of his writings. Two of al-Mufid's pupils, al-Tiisi (d. 4591 67) and al-Naj5shi (d. 455/1063), compiled bibliographies of Shi'ite authors, in which of course they furnished lists of their own teacher's works.6 Later Ibn ShahrBshiib (d. 58811192) wrote his bibliography with a view to completing that of a l - T i i ~ i All modern lists of al-Mufid's .~ orks depend upon these three. More difficult is the task of determining which of these works are nt. Using the manuscript catalogues of the great libraries, F.
al-Masg'il al-sarawiy ya," in al-Thaqalin : al-kitlib ma-1-'itra (Najaf: al-tiiiiriyya, n.d.1, p. 51. On this see infra, pp. 222-28. - .. .. a 'ALLAMA HILL^, Anwbr al-malakzit fi sharh al-Yiqzit, ed.' M. Zanjani ("IntiALsh8rSt-i dfinesggh-i Tehran," No. 543; Tehran: Tehran University Press, 1338 H.). a IQBAL, 166 ff. pp. MADELUNG, and notes 1 and 2. p. 15, ' AL-TOsi,al-Fihrist, p. 178; AL-NAJASH~,311-15. pp. a MUYAMMAD B. 'AL~ SHAHRASHOB, B. Ma'cilim al-'ulamb', ed. M. Sndiq A1 Bahr al-'Ulfim (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1961). For his list of al-Mufid's works, see pp. 111-14.
fir al-kutub

1 Ibid., p. 131, No. 20; AL-NAJASH~, The "Middle Position Regarding the p. 50. Threat" seems to refer to the believing sinner's position in the next life, not in this. a AwtiJil, p. 40. Zbid., p. 38. Ibid., p. 56. 6 Ibid., p. 57. Zbid., p. 58. Ibid., p. 59. 8 Ibid., p. 60.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

INTRODUCTION

Sezgin gives information about twenty-four tit1es.l In an article about al-Mufid, Shaikh Muhammad Hasan A1 YHsin lists thirty-one of his works which have been published.3 Agh~ Buzurg's al-Dhari'a, a vast alphabetical list and description of ImHmi works both extant and lost, is a mine of information, since the compiler has had access to many public and private libraries in Iraq and Iran.s At the time of AghH Buzurg's death in 1970, al-Dhari'a had been published only up to the letter mim. But the rest has been left in manuscript and, it is hoped, will be published ~ o m e d a y . ~ Sayyid Hasan al-Miisawi al-KharsHn, relying upon al-Dhari'a, has listed 167 titles of al-Mufid's works in his introduction to al-Tiisi's Tahdhib al-~hklm.~ Finally, this writer has visited several libraries in Najaf and Iran looking for manuscripts of al-Mufid's works. The libraries he visited are: Maktabat Amir al-Mu'minin al-'Hmma, Maktabat al-ImHm al-Hakim al-'Hmma, Maktabat Muhammad SHdiq A1 Bahr al-'Uliim. b) Qumm: KitHbkhHna-i Madrasat Ayyatullzh Najafi Mar'ashi, which has one very old majmfi'a containing twenty of al-Mufid's shorter treatises. References will be to their order in that volume. c) Tehran : KitHbkhHna-i Majlis. References to manuscripts from this library will be to page numbers in Fihrist-i kitibkhina-i Majlis-i Shu'rtS-yi Milli dar Tihrln, Vol. VII (1968), ed. 'Abdalhusain HH'iri. KitHbkhHna-i malik. Kit HbkhHna-i DHnishgHh-i TihrHn. a) Najaf:
F. SEZGIN, Geschichte des arabischen Schrvttums (Leiden: Brill, 1967), I , 550-51. M. H A ~ P AL Y z s i ~ "Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Nu'min al-Shaikh N al-Mufid," Majallat al-Baligh (Baghdad), 3 ( 1970), 13-14. The, author also refers to his full list of al-Mufid's manuscripts in a yet unpublished study. a AGHABUZURG AL-TIHRANI, al-Dhari'a i l i tayinif al-shica (Tehran: Isllmiyya, 1936). The author lists and describes the libraries he has inspected in VI, 400-02; VII, 289-94; VIII, 297-99. See 'ABD AL-RAH~M MUHAMMAD i , Aghi Buzurg al-rihrini: (layituhu wa 'h cithiruh (Najaf: Nu'mHn, 1970), p. 35. h-TUsi, Tahdhib, I, 22-31.

The basis of the list to be given here will be that of al-Najbhi, who is the most thorough of the three ancient Shi'ite bibliographers. The titles al-Najhhi gives will be numbered. Other titles not found in al-NajHshi's list will be inserted according to alphabetical order but not numbered. The order is that of the Arabic alphabet, disregarding, however, the word kitib when it occurs in a title. Rather often the title of a single work is worded differently in different manuscripts. Here al-NajHshiYs wording will be followed and other titles subjoined which seem to refer to the same work. Of course it is possible to be mistaken here. Since Sezgin's Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums is readily available to the reader, his information will not be repeated in this list. Information found in other sources will be repeated. The objects of al-Mufid's "Refutations" - often men of prior generations - are usually well-known figures. But it is rarely possible to identify the more obscure contemporaries who consulted al-Mufid and to whom his "Letters" and "Answers" are addressed. Where a title indicates a theological topic, the reader will be referred to the page where that topic is treated in this study. So even when a treatise is lost, it is often possible to ascertain al-Mufid's position on its subject from other writings of his. The translations of the titles given in this list are not meant to be literal, but explanatory. Often enough the words can have meanings other than those this writer has chosen, and he welcomes corrections.

m,

I.,

1. Al-Ajwiba 'an al-masi'il al-Khwirizmiyya (Replies to questions from the province of Khwiirizm). Kitib a(lkZm al-mut'a (The Book of legal rules about temporary marriage). AI-Ttisi mentions it. On this subject see below after $ 74, and also $8 109, 160, 161. 2. Apkim al-nisci' (Legal rules about women). Sezgin, I, 551, n. 15. Aghi Buzurg, I, 302, says there are two mss. in the library of Shaikh 'Abd al-Husain al-Hilli at Najaf. Also at Najaf: al-Hakim, 998 (2); Amir al-Mu'minin, ms. 41. Qumrn: Mar'ashi, majmri'a, n. l ; Tehran, Majlis, VII, 271. Al-Ikhti& (Specialization). Published in Tehran : al-Sadtiq, 1379 H. Sezgin, I, 550, n. 2. This is a collection of traditions and is probably the same as al-'Uyzin walma,hEsin, for which see below, $ 83. Ikhtiycir al-shu'arci' (Selection of the poets). Ibn Shahriishtib mentions it.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

INTRODUCTION

3. A1 Irshid (Guidance). Published in Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1962. Sezgin, I, 550, n. 4. Traditions about the Twelve Imams. 4. Al-Arkinfi da'i'im al-din (First principles on the pillars of religion). Al-Mufid says in al-Fryfil, p. 284, and in Tafbih, p. 28, that in this work he shows that early Imamite theologians, with the approval of their Imams, used rational arguments in debate. Al-Arkinfi I-Jqh (First principles in jurisprudence). Al-Tiisi and Ibn ShahrHshiib mention it. It is probably identical with 5 4. 5. K. al-istibpirfi-mi jama'ahu I-Ship'i min al-akhbir (Reflection on the traditions al-Shgfi'i collected). This is probably a criticism of the Sunni jurist. 6. K. al-ishrif (Overview), or possibly al-Ashrif (High points). Sezgin, I, 551, n. 13. A g h ~ Buzurg, 11, 102, adds to the title: fi 'imm fari'id al-islim, and says he has seen many mss. of it. Also in Qumm: Mar'ashi majmfi'a, n. 4; Cairo: DHr al-kutub, ms. 20037 b. Al-Ishriqfi na't ah1 al-bait, 'alaihim al-salim (Enlightenment in the characterization of the members of the Prophet's family). Ibn Shahrashiib mentions it. 'Abbb IqbHl's edition of Ibn Shahrbhiib has al-Ishrrif. 7. K. yfil al-jiqh (Principles of jurisprudence). This is quoted in its entirety in a work of al-Mufid's pupil, Abii I-Fath M. b. 'Ali al-KarHjaki, Kanz al-fawi'id (Mashhad: lithograph, 1323 H.). Sezgin, I, 551, n. 14. Airif al-dali'ilfi awi'il al-masi'il (Outlines of proofs on primary questions). Ibn ShahrBshiib mentions it., 8. K. al-i'lim (Information). Published as al-i'lim fi-mi-ttafaqat al-inuimiyyo 'alaihi min al-abkim (Najaf: al-'Adl, n.d.). Sezgin, I, 551, n. 12. Al-Mufid wrote this a t the request of his pupil, al-Murtagii, as a summary of the differences between Imamite legal practice and the practice of all other groups. 9. K. al-zpikhir (Boasting). Al-Iffib (Plan statement). Ibn Shahriihiib mentions it. Published as al-rf$i(r f i imimat Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali b. Abii Tilib (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 2nd ed., 1952). 10. K. aqsim mawlifi 1-lisin (On the different uses of the word, mawli). Published as "RisBla fi tahqiq lafz al-mawl8," in al-Thaqalin (Najaf: al-TijHriyya, n.d.), pp. 2028. Najaf: Amir al-Mu'minin, ms. 41; Qumm: al-Mar'ashi majmii'a, n. 12. Thls examines the meaning of the tradition according to which the Prophet, at Ghadir Khumm, took 'Ali by the hand and said, "Whoever has me as his mawW has 'Ali as his mawli." 11. K. al-iqni'fi wujiib al-da'wi (Convincing statement on the need for a positive summons to faith). The point seems to be that reason alone is unable to attain God. O n this see below, pp. 58-62. 12. K. al-amili 1-mutafawiqit (Different discourses). Published as Amili al-Shaikh al-Mufid (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 3rd ed., 1962). This consists of traditions. Zqtifcir 'ah I-thibit fi l-futyi (Restriction to firmly established traditions as bases for legal decisions). Ibn Shahrbhiib mentions it. 13. K. al-intifir (Aid to victory). Perhaps, by a misprint, this is the same as Iqtifir above. 14. K. Awci'il al-maqrikit (Principle theses). Published as Awi'il al-maqilitfil-madhzhi6 wal-mukhtirit, ed. A.S. Wajdi (Tabriz: CharandHbi, 2nd ed., 1371 H.). Sezgin, 1,551,n. 11.

15. K. al-iddl1fi 1-imcima (Clarification on the Imamate). Scxgin, I, 551, n. 20; Tehran: Malik, ms. 2926. In his "al-1Jur)iil al-'ashara fi ithblt al-bujja," p. 31, alMufid mentions that 1 e has summarized his doctrine on probative miracles at the 1 end of his al-I&i(I. 16. K. I m i n Abii Tilib (The faith of Abii Tiilib). Published in Nafci'is al-makhltitn't (Baghdad: al-Nahda, 2nd ed., 1963), pp. 76-84. This is to refute the charge that 'Ali's father died an unbeliever. (Al-Bihirfi I-mu'jizit. See below, 8 78). 17. K. Bughd al-marwiniyya (Hatefulness of the Marwanids). This should probably be Naqd ... (Refutation of ). On the use of this name for adherents of the Umayyad party in Abbasid times, see Goldziher, Muhammedanische Studien (Halle: Neimeyer, 1888-go), 11, 120-21. Or it is possible, though unlikely, that this is a political tract against the Kurdish Marwanid dynasty of DiyHr Bakr. I n the year 3741984 they were repulsed in an attempt to take Baghdad. 18. K. al-bayin 'ali ghalat Quirub f i I-qur'in (Exposition of Qutrub's error about the Quran). Ibn al-Nadim, p. 52, says that Qutrub, Abii 'Ali M. b. al-Mustanir, also called Ahmad b. M. or al-uasan b. M. (d. 2061821-22) was a disciple of Sibawayh and a number of Basran scholars. Ibn al-MurtaSlii, p. 131, names him among the grammarians who held the Mu'tazilite doctrine of Justice.

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19. K. al-bayin f i ta'lifal-qur1& (On the compilation of the Quran). 20. K. bayin wujzih al-abkim (Aspects of legal rulings). 21. K. al-ta'rikh al-shar'iyya (sic) for tawirikh (Legal dates), which Ibn ShahrHshiib has. For mss. of a work entitled Masirr al-shi'afi tawirikh al-shari'a, see Sezgin, I, 551, n. 8; Tehran: Tehran University ms. 408911. Ta$bi)z i'tiqid al-imimiyya, published as K. shar?~ 'aqi'id al-Sadiiq, aw Tajhih ali'tiqidit (Explanation, or correction, of Ibn Babiiya's Risilat al-i'tiqidit), in the same volume with Awi'il al-maqcikit (Tabriz: Charandabi, 2nd ed., 1371 H.). Sezgin, I , 547, n. 6. Although neither al-NajHshi, al-Tfisi, nor Ibn Shahriishiib mentions this, it must be genuine. 22. K. tafdil aal-a'imma 'alci I-mali'ika (On the Imam's superiority to the angels). On this question see below, pp. 106-07. Taqrir al-abkim (Determination of legal rulings). Ibn ShahrHshiib mentions it. 23. K. al-tamhid (The introduction). See below, p. 307. 24. K. al-jnmal (On the Battle of the Camel). AI-TSi and Ibn ShahrHshiib call this K.fi abkim ah1 al-jamal (On the legal status of 'Ali's opponents in the Battle of the Camel). I t is published as al-Jamal: al-nwra f i barb al-Bapa (Najaf: al-qaidariyya, 1963). (Jumal al-fari'id. See below, i 56). j 25. K. Jawcib Ibn Wiqid al-Sunni (Reply to Ibn Wgqid, the Sunnite). Aghii Buzurg, V, 172, suggests "al-Laithi" should be read for "al-Sunni," making the person addressed the grandson of the traditionist Wlqid b. Abi WBqid al-Laithi. Jawib Abi Ja'far al-Khurcini (Reply to Abii Ja'far al-Khurkzni). Ibn Shahrashiib mentions it. 26. K. jawib Abi 1-Faraj b. Isbciq 'ammi yufsid al-falit (Reply to Abii I-Faraj on what invalidates the legal Prayer).

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THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

INTRODUCTION

27. Jawib Abi Muhammad al-gasan b. al-gusain al-Nawbandajini 1-muqim bi Mashhad 'Uthmin (Reply to Abii Muhammad who lives in the district (3) of Mashhad 'Uthmiin). For another reference to this place, see below, 149. 28. K. jawib ah1 al-Jurjcn fi tabrim al-fuqqi (Reply to the men of Jurjin about the prohibition of beer). 29. Jawdb ah1 al-Raqqafi 1-ahilla wa-1-'adad (Reply to the men of al-Raqqa about the crescents and numbers). Aghi Buzurg, V, 177, says this is also called al-Risila I-'adadiyya (see below, $ 80) and al-Masi'il al-maw~iliyyit (see below, $ 46). Raqqa is a town on the east bank of the Euphrates between Mosul and Harran. On the determination of the beginnings of months and their number of days, see below, 8 106. 30. Jawib al-Kirmcini fi fad1 al-nabi 'ali si'ir al-anbiyi' (Reply to al-Kirmiini about Muhammad's superiority to all the other prophets). On the question, see below, p. 102. 3 1. Jawib al-Mifarrdkhi fi I-masd'il (Reply to al-Mifarriikhi's questions). 32. Jawib al-masi'ilfi-khtilcif al-akhbir (Reply to questions about differences in traditions). This is referred to in al-Masd'il al-Sarawiyya, p. 57, cited below, p. 307. 33. K. jawibit Ibn al-gam(m)imi (Replies to Ibn al-I;Iam(m)imi). Agha Buzurg, V, 196, remarks that in some mss. this is written Ibn Hamini. 34. K. jawibit Banti 'Arqal (Replies to the Banii 'Arqal). 35. K. jawibit Ibn Nubita (Replies to Ibn Nubiita). Aghii Buzurg, V, 196, identifies him as al-Khatib Abii Yahyi 'Abd al-Rahim M. b. Ismii'il b. Nubita, called al-Firiqi by his being born in Miyyifiiriqin (DiyHr Bakr). He died there in 3741984-5. He was considered one of the great Shi'ite preachers. See Ibn Khallikin (trans. de Slane), 1 , 110-1 1. 1 36. K. jawibit Abi Ja'far al-Qummi (Replies to Abii Ja'far al-Qummi). Possibly this is Ibn Biibiiya, or the elder Ibn Qaiiya (see above, p. 13); or see infra, p. 358.

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37. K. jawibit Abi Ja'far Muhammad b. al-gusain al-Laithi (Replies to Abii Jarfar ). 38. K. jawibit Abi 1-gasan a1-flifini (Replies to Abii I-Hasan ). 39. Jawibit Abi I-gasan al-Nisibiiri (Replies to Abii 1-gasan al-Nisabfiri). Al-Khatib al-Baghdidi mentions two traditionists with this name: See Ta'rikh Baghdid, X, 302, n. 5457, for 'Abd al-Rahmiin b. Ibriihim b. M. b. Yahyi b. Sakhtawaih (d. 397 or 398/1006-08); and ibid., XII, 100, n. 6532, for 'Ali b. M. b. 'Ali b. Haid b. 'Abd al:Jabbiir (d. 430/1038-39). Agha Buzurg, V, 240, notes that a ms. entitled Jaruibit al-masd'il al-Nisibtiriyya exists in Qumm in the library of Sayyid Shihiib al-Din al-Tabrizi al-Najaf I. 40. Jawibit Abi I-gasan Sib! al-Mu'cifi b. Zakariyyi f i iyiz:al-qur'cin (Reply to Abii 1-Hasan on the inimitability of the Quran).

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41. K. jawtibit Abi Math Muhammad b. 'Ali 6. 'Uthmin (Replies to Abii I-Fath ...). This is al-Kargjaki (d. 449/1057-58). O n him see above, p. 2; Ibn Shahrishiib, p. 118; al-Khwansiri, p. 662. 42. K. jawibit Abi I-Laith al-Awini (Replies to Abii I-Laith al-Awini). Al-Mufid addresses this person with the title of al-Hijib. Many mss. of this work exist, but their titles differ. Aghii Buzurg, V, 198, calls it Jawiblil al-ihdi wal-khamsin maJ1il. Sezgin,

I, 551, n. 24, calls it al-Masi'il al-'ukbariyya; also in Qumm: Mar'ashi majmd'a, n. 20; Najaf al-Hakim, ms. 1087. And the al-Hakim library ms. 436 is entitled Ajwibat al-masi'il al-hcrjibiyya. I t consists of fifty-one questions on various subjects. 43. K. jawibdt al-Amir Abi 'Abd Allih (Replies to the Amir Aba 'Abd Allih). On this person see below, 70. 44. K. jawibit ahl al-Dinawir (Replies to the men of Dinavir). Al-Tiisi and Ibn Shahriishiib call it a2-Masi'il al-Dinawciriyya. 45. K. jawibcft ah1 Tabaristin (Replies to the men of Tabaristan). f 46. K. jawibit ah1 al-Maw~il i 1-'adad wal-ru'ya (Replies to the men of Mosul on whether the beginning of the month is determined by calculation or by the sight of the crescent). Aghi Buzurg, V, 235, says that mss. of this are widespread, and that in this treatise al-Mufid argues against calculation in favor of sight of the crescent; he also maintains that Ramadln is never shortened by a day. For more on this question see above, 29, and below, 80, 106, and 150. Qumm: Mar'ashi majmd'a, n. 8, has al-Mas'ala fi I-'adad wal-ru'ya. 47. K. jawibit al-Barqa'ifi furti' al-jfqh (Replies to al-Barqa'i on practical points of jurisprudence). 48. K. jawibit al-sharqiyin fi furd' al-din (Replies to the easterners on practical rules of religion). 49. K. jawibit 'Ali b. N a ~ r al-'Abdajini (Replies to 'AIi ... ). 50. K. jawibit al-firiqin f i 1-ghaiba (Replies to dissidents the occultation of the Twelfth Imam). See below, 90. 5 1. K. jawibit fi khuriij' al-mahdi (Replies about the final emergence of the Hidden Imam). See below, 90. 52. K. jawibit al-faihstif fi l-ittihid (Replies to the philosopher concerning union). 53. K. jawribtit al-masi'il f i 1-la!$ min al-kalim (Replies to questions on the fine points of theology). Possibly this is the same as the section appended to the Awi'il al-maqilit (pp. 72-1 16) entitled "Bib al-qawl f i I-lacif min al-kaliim," although the latter is not in question and answer form. 54. K. jawcibit Muqitil b. 'Abd al-Rahmlm 'ammi stakhrajah min kutub al-Jihi~ (Replies to problems Muqiitil found in al-,Jihiz books). 55. K. jawibit al-Nqr b. Bashirfi I-fiycim (Replies to al-Na~ir'squestions about fasting). gadi'iq al-riyid wa zuhrat al-murtid (Gardens of meadows and splendor of the cultivated). A Shi'iteauthor, 'Ali b. Tii'us (d. 664) quotes its authority for the birth dates of Muhammad and Ficima and for the acts to be done on the 25th and 29th of Dhii I-gijja. See Aghi Buzurg, VI, 286. Perhaps it is related to $ 121 below. 56. K. ham1 al-fari'id (On fulfilling duties). Aghii Buzurg, V, 145, reads this, no doubt correctly, as Jumal al-fari'id (Summaries ... ). = Al-Radd 'ali Ibn BibEya (Refutation of Ibn Bibiiya). Ibn Shahrlshiib mentions , it: Aghii Buzurg, X, 204, says there is a ms. in the Satniwi Library in Najaf. Berlin: r Ahlwardt, 11, 171, n. 1370, entitled Fi I-radd 'a16 I-Sadtiq fi qawlih anna shahr ramadin yanqq (Refutation of Ibn Babiiya's thesis that the month of Ramadin is never shortened by a day); Tehran: Majlis, VII, 184, n. 8111, entitled al-Riscila I-'adadiyya (The letter about numbers). On this question, see below, 80 and $ 106.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

INTRODUCTION

57. K. al-radd 'ali Ibn al-Zkhshid fil-imima (Refutation of Ibn al-Ikhshid on the imamate). On this person, see above, p. 6. 58. K. al-radd 'ali Ibn Rashidfi I-imima (Refutation of Ibn Rashid on the imamate). 59. K. al-radd 'ali Zbn 'Awn f i 1-makhliiq (Refutation of Ibn 'Awn on the created). This is Abii I-Husain M. b. Ja'far b. 'Awn al-Kiifi al-Rizi al-Asadi (d. 312/924), an Imimi traditionist who held anthropulilorphist and determinist views. See al-Najishi, p. 289, and al-Tiisi, p. 179. "The created" probably refers to the question whether human acts are created by God or produced by man. See below, pp. 162164. 60. Al-Radd 'ali Ibn Kullib fi I-jvit (Refutation of Ibn Kullib on the divine attributes). For a discussion of 'Abd Allih b. M. b. Kullsb's doctrine, see M. Allard, Le Problt?me des attributs divins dam la doctrine d'al-Ash'ari et ses premiers grands disciples ("Recherches publites sous la direction de lJInstitut de lettres orientales de Beyrouth," Vol. XXVIII; Beirut: D i r al-Mashriq, 1965), pp. 149-53. 6 1. Al-Radd 'ali Abi 'Abd Allih al-Bapi f itafdil al-mali'ika (Refutation of Abii 'Abd Alllh al-Ba~ri the superiority of the angels). On Abii 'Abd Alllh see above, pp. 5-6. on For the question whether the prophets are superior to angels, see below, pp. 106-07. 62. K. al-radd 'aM aj!zcib al-fIallij (Refutation of the partisans of al-Hallij). This is probably what Sezgin, I, 551, n. 18, refers to as Radd a;-jiifiyin. Al-Radd 'all 1-Tha'labfi iyit al-qur'in (Refutation of al-Tha'lab on verses of the Quran). Ibn Shahrishiib mentions it. This man is Abii 'Abbzis Ahmad b. Yahyg b. Zaid al-Shaiblni (d. 2911903-04), the Kufan grammarian. See Ibn al-Nadim, p. 74. 63. K. al-radd 'ali 1-Ji!ziq al-'uthm&~iyya (sic), probably forf i I-'uthminiyya (Refutation of al-Jihiz' K. al-'uthminiyya). In his book al-Jlhiz defended the arguments of the 'uthminiyya party as to Abii Bakr's superiority to 'Ali. For a summary of its contents see Ch. Pellat, Ambica, 3 (1956), 312-13. On the 'Uthminite party, see Goldziher, Studien, 11, 119-21. 64. K. al-radd 'ali 1-Jubbi'i Ji I-lafsir (Refutation of al-Jubbili on quranic commentary). This is Abii 'Ali al-Jubbri'i, for whom see above, p. 5. 65. K. al-radd 'ali 1-Khcilidif i 1-imima (Refutation of al-Kh8lidi on the imamate). This is Abii 1-Tayyib M. b. Ibrihim b. Shihib al-Khilidi (d. after 351/963), the Baghdad Mu'tazilite. See Ibn al-Nadim, p. 174; Ibn al-Murtadii, p. 110. 66. K . f i I-radd 'ali I-Sha'bi (Refutation of al-Sha'bi). This may be the traditionist Abii 'Amr 'Amir b. SharHhil al-Sha'bi (d. 103/721-22). On him see Sezgin, I, 277. 67. Al-Radd 'ali 1-'Atabi fi I-hikiya wal-mahki (sic) for al-Qutaybi or, as al-Tiisi has it, Ibn Qutaiba (Refutation of Ibn Qutaiba on the question of quranic recitation). On this problem, see below, pp. 91-92. 68. K. al-radd 'ald 'Ali al-Nasafi fi I-shtiri (Refutation of 'Ali al-Nasafi about consultation). 69. Al-Radd 'ali I-Karibisifi 1-imima (Refutation of al-Karibisi on the imamate). This would be Abii 'Ali al-Husain b. 'Ali b. Yazid al-Karlbisi (d. 248/862), the Sunnite dialectician, traditionist, and jurist. Ibn al-Nadim, p. 181, ascribes to him a K. al-imima and says it shows rancour towards 'Ali. Al-Radd 'ali man badd al-mahr (Refutation of him who would set a limit on the size of the bridal gift). Aghi Buzurg, X, 227, says a ms. of this is found in the Samiwi library, Najaf, and that it is also called Mas'alat al-mahr.

70. K. al-risda i l i I-Amir Abi 'Abd Allih wa Abi Tihir b. N c ~ i r al-Dawla fi majlis jar5f i 1-imima (Letter to the Amir Abii 'Abd Allih and Abii Trihir b. Nlsir al-Dawla concerning a discussion on the imamate). Abii 'Abd Allih Husain and Abii Tihir Ibrihim became masters of Mosul in 3791989. See M. Canard, Histoire de la Dynastie des Hamdanites de Jazira et de Syrie ('cPublications de la Facultt des lettres dYAlger;" Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1953), I, 573. 71. Risila i l i ahl al-taqlid (Letter to the people who blindly follow authority). 72. Risilat al-Junaidi i l i ah1M i ~ rThis should probably read : Naqd risdat al-Junaid . ili ah1 Mi? (Refutation of al-Junaid's letter to the Egyptians). The person referred to is the Imamite jurist Abii 'Ali Muhammad b. Ahmad b. al-Junaid al-Iskifi (d. 3811991-92). I n "al-Masi'il al-sarawiyya," p. 58, al-Mufid says: "I have answered the questions which Ibn al-Junaid has collected in his books addressed to the people of Egypt called al-Masi'il al-nzijriyya." On him see below, p. 308. 73. Al-Risda I-'izziyya (Letter to or about a person named 'Izz). 74. K. al-risda l-'alawiyya (Letter about 'Ali). Risilat 'fii b. Dib bi-riwiyatal-Mufid (Letter of 'Is5 b. Drib, narrated by al-Mufid). Najaf: al-Hakim, ms. 433 (8). Risda f i I-fqh ila>ala%h (Letter to his son about jurisprudence). Al-Tiisi mentions it and notes that-6llMufid did not finish it. Risila,f6mnt'a (Letter about temporary marriage). Ibn Shahrbhiib mentions it. Agha Buzurg, XIX, 66, says that mss. of al-Mufid's letter, or letters, on this subject are found in the Ridlwiyya Library of Mashhad, and in the libraries of Shaikh al'Alllma al-Niiri of Najaf and of Sayyid 'Ali al-Irwgni of Tabriz. He adds that alMajlisi, Bihrir al-anwir, XXIII, has quoted at length from al-Mufid's Risdat al-mut'a, most of which consists of traditions related on the authority of Ibn Quliiya. For more treatises on temporary marriage, see below, $5 109, 160, 161, and also above, after F 1. j 75. K. al-risila l - k w fi I$qh (Suficient letter on jurisprudence). 76. Al-Risila I-muqni'a (The convincing letter). 77. K. al-risila I-muqtli'a f i wviq al-baghdridiyin min al-mu'tazila li-mi ruwiya 'an al-a'imma (Convincing letter on the Baghdad Mu'tazilites' agreement with traditions reported on the authority of the Imams). This may be an attempt to recommend to the Imamites some of the ideas and methods of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites. 78. K. al-qihirfi I-mu'jizit (The luminous treatise on miracles). AghH Buzurg, XII, 13, calls this al-Bihir f i I-mu'jizit. On miracles see below, pp. 84-86. 79. Sharb Kitib al-i'lim (Explanation of the Book of information). This may be an expansion of the work referred to above, $ 8. Sharh al-matzim alladhi ra'ihu 1-Shaiklz al-Mufid wa muni~aratihi(Explanation of a dream al-Mufid had and the debate that took place in it). Qumm: Mar'ashi, majtnl'a , n. 5; Tehran: Majlis, VII, 271, n. 14, majml'a 8, pp. 160-72. Al-Mufid relates that in a dream he found himself on a street where a group was gathered about a preacher. Approaching the circle, he was told that the preacher was 'Umar b. al-Khartib. P Al-Mufid entered the circle and challenged him to prove Abii Bakr's superiority to 'Ali. 1. 80. K. 'adad al-jawm wa 1-jalit (On the number of the fast and the prayer). This has to do with the number of days in Ramadsn. See above, after $ 56, and below, $ 106.
3

INTRODUCTION

'Uqtid al-din (Highlights of religion). Al-Mufid mentions it, Ta~hih,p. 28, as containing traditions which justify theological discussion and debate. 81. K. al-'umadfi l-imima (Basic rules about the imamate). Aghl Buzurg, XV, 333, says it is also called al-'Umda. 82. 'Umad mukhta,rara 'ald I-rnu'tazila fi I-wa'id (Concise arguments against the Mu'tazilites on the Threat). On this question, see below.. UP. 251-76. Al-'Awiffi I-abkdm (The recondite treatise on legal judgments). Sezgin, I, 551, n. 19; Qumm: Mar'ashi, majml'a, n. 11;Najaf: al-Hakim, mss. 364, 998 (3); Tehran: Majlis, VII, 197, n. 144. 83. Al-'Uyln wal-mahisin (The springs and the beauties). AghH Buzurg, XV, 386, notes that mss. of this work are in the Ridiwiyya library of Mashhad and the SamHwi library of Najaf. And he quotes the opening lines, which are the same as the opening lines of the work published as al-Ikhtijd~(noted above, after $ 2). Since the latter title is not named in any of the ancient lists, it seems most probable that the work published as al-Ikhti@ is really al-'Uytin wal-mahisin. However see below, $ 86. 84. K. al-fari'id al-shar'iyya (Legal obligations). 85. K. al-fard'idfi I-ahkdm (Obligations in the legal rulings). 86. K. al-f~SrSI min al-'Uytin wal-mahisin (Chapters from the Springs and the beauties). A work compiled by al-Murtadi has been publishcd as al-Fwd al-mukhtrira min al-'Uytin wal-mahdsin (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 3rd ed., 1962). Opening with an address to an unknown patron, al-Murtadl says: "You have asked me-may God support you!-to collect for you chapters from the books of our shaikh and master al-Mufid, Abii 'Abd Alllh Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Nu'mln-may God perpetuate his power!-in the discussions (al-majdlis), and clever remarks from his book known as al-'Uytin wal-mabkin, so that you may be refreshed by it on your journey and may spread his memory in your own abode and country." I t consists of traditions and discussions of Shi'ite history, theology, and jurisprudence. The trouble is that there is no correspondence between this and the text published as al-Ikhti$@ (see above, after $ 2). If the latter is really al-'Uytin wal-mahisin, one is brought to the admittedly unsatisfying conclusion that al-Murtadl did not carry out his intention of culling from it. Kghl Buzurg, XVI, 244-45, is of the opinion that al-Murtagl's published compilation is a different work altogether from what al-Naj8shi calls here K. al-fu~ziL min al-'uytin wal-mahisin. For another possibility, see below, $ 107. K.fadd'ih Abi eanifa (Disgraces of Abii uanifa). Ibn ShahrPshiib mentions it. Najaf Amir al-Mu'minin, ms. 41, entitled Risda nuqid f ihd Abl eanifa. See also below, $ 146. Al-Fadi'il (The Virtues). Ibn Shahrlshiib mentions it. 87. K. f i imdmat Amir al-Mu'minin min al-qur'cn (A book pro"ing 'Ali's imamate from the Quran). 88. K. f i ta'wil qawlihi: Fa-s'all ahl al-dhikr (Interpretation of the quranic verse: "Ask the people of remembrance.") The reference is to Quran, 2 1:7. According to a tradition from Ja'far al-Sldiq, the "people of remembrance" are the Imams. 89. K.fi tafdil Amir al-Mu'minin 'ah sd'ir ashdbih (On 'Ali's superiority to all his fellows). Qumm: Mar'ashi, majml'a, n. 13, entitled Mas'alafi 'ali sd'ir al-bashar;
A -

Tehran: Majlis, VII, 50, majmii'a 5011, entitled Tafdil ... 'ald sa"ir al-qhcib. The contents of these two mss. are the same as that of a treatise published as "Risila fI taf@ Amir al-Mu'minin 'a18 jami' al-anbiyz' ghair Muhammad," in al-Mufid, al-Thaqa/dn: at-kitdb wa I-'ilra (Najaf: al-Tijlriyya, n.d.), pp. 34-40. 90. K. fi 1-ghaiba (On the Twelfth Imam's occultation). Agh8 Buzurg, XVI, 81, says he does not known of this book's existence. But a collection of al-Mufid's letters on this subject has been published as Khams rai'ilfi ithbdt al-hujja (Five letters affirming the existence of the Twelfth Imam), (Najaf: al-'Ad1 al-isllmi, 1951). 1) For the first of these letters, see below, $ 147. 2) O n the tradition, "Whoever &cs without having known the Imam of his age dies like one in the times ofignoraniie."mm: Mar'ashi, majml'a, n. 15. 3) On the tradgion, "Were three hundred and several tens of men to rally ?round the Imam, he would have to rise in revolt." 4) On the question: "Why must the Imam hide?" Qumm: Mar'ashi, majmci'a, 5) O n the question: "What proof is there that the Hidden Imam exists?'' Qumm: Mar'ashi, majml'a, n. 17. Mss. of some of the above letters are also found in Najaf: al-Uakim, m . 998, s B a b al-'Uliun nd in the private library of Muhammad Stidiq 9 1. K. fi qawlihi: anta minni bi-manzilat Hdrtin min MCsd (On Mdammad's saying to 'Ali: You are to me as Aaron was to Moses). 92. K.fi I-qiycis (On analogical reasoning). Al-Mufid opposed its use in jurisprudence. On this see below, pp. 289-95. 93. Qadiyat al-'aql 'a16 1-af 'd (Reason's judgment of acts). O n this problem see below, pp. 62-66. (Al-Qawlfi dald'il al-qur'rin. See below, 8 103). 94. K. al-kdmilfi I-din (The perfect in religion). Ibn ShahrHshiib calls it al-Kimil f i 'ullm at-din. Al-Mufid says (al-Fwd, p. 284) that he has given the names and titles of books of early Imamite theologians in this treatise. 95. K. kashf al-ilbis (Clarification of the obscurity). 96. K. kashf al-sari'ir (Unveiling of the secrets). 97. K. al-kashf fi muqaddimit al-u.$ll (Revelation of preliminaries to the basic 98. Al-kalim 'ald I-Jubbd'ifi I-ma'dtim (Against Abii 'Ali al-Jubbii'i's thesis on stent). On this problem see below, pp. 196-99. -kalimfi anna I-makdn l i yakhll min mutamakkin (Discussion of the thesis never without something in it). O n al-Mufid's notion of place, see below, 100. K. al-kaldmfi I-insin (Discussion about man). On this question see below, 101. K. al-kaldmfihadith al-qur'dn. This should undoubtedly be hudlth (Discussion of the temporal production of the Quran). On this question see below, pp. 89-92.

...

INTRODUCTION

37

102. K. al-kalimfi I-khabar al-mukhlalaq hi-glrair athar (Discussion of the possibility of a tradition being fabricated without there being any trace of its fabrication). On the problem of determining the soundness of traditions, see below, pp. 304-1 1. 103. K. al-kalimfi dali'il al-qur'in (Discussion of the proofs of the Quran). Agh2 Buzurg, XVII, 208, has al-Qawlf i dali'il al-qur'in). 104. Al-Kalimfi I-ma'dtim (Discussion of the non-existent). On this problem see below, pp. 196-99. 105. K. al-kalimfi wujth i'jiz al-qur'in (Discussion of aspects of the Quran's inimitability). On this problem see below, pp. 86-89. 106. K. lamb al-burhin (Gleam of the proof ). According to Aghi Buzurg, XVIII, 340, who relies on an account of Ibn Ti'iis, the full title of this now lost work was Lamb al-burhinfi 'adam nuqpin shahr Ramadin (Gleam of the proof that there is never any diminution of the month of Ramagin). Al-Mufid wrote this as a young man, in the year 3631973-4, to support his teacher, Ibn Quliiya, against al-Shaikh Muhammad b. Ahmad b. DH'ud b. 'Ali al-Qummi. But later al-Mufid changed and came to favor the doctrine that the month begins not by computation but whenever the moon is seen. I n support of this position he wrote al-Risila I-'adadiyya (see above, after 8 56) and Ma~abibal-ntirfi "olimat awd'il al-shuhtir (below, 8 150). 107. Al-Majilis al-mahfiq f ifuntin al-kalim (sic) for mahjiisa (Preserved discussions on the arts of theology). Al-KantBri, Kashf al-hujub, p. 486, considers this, along with K. al-'Uytin wal-mahcisin to be a source for al-Sayyid al-Murtagi's selection called al-Fwiil al-mukhtira min al-'uytin wal-mahisin (above, $ 86). Agh5 Buzurg, XIX, 364-65, disagrees. See also Sezgin, I, 550, n. 2. 108. K. mukhta,rarfi 1-ghaiba (Summary on the occultation). See above, 5 91. Mukhtarar al-fari'id (Summary of obligations). Ibn Shahrhhiib mentions it. 109. K. mukhta~ar al-mut'a (Summary of temporary marriage). 110. K. al-mazir al-~aghir(Small book on the place of pilgrimage). Sezgin, I, 551, n. 8. Mashhad: Ridiwiyya, I, n. 450. 111. K. al-muzawwirin 'an ma'ini I-akhbk (On those who falsify the meanings of traditions). Mas'ala jarat bain al-Shaikh wa bain al-qidi I-bahshamifi 1-imima wa ma'nii I-maw16 (Discussion between the Shaikh and the judge of the Bahshamiyya party about the imamate and the meaning of the word "mawli"). For the Bahshamiyya, see above, p. 5. Qumm: Mar'ashi majmti'a, n. 7. The text of this letter is different from that of Aqsim al-mawli (above, 5 10). 112. K. al-mas'ala I-Janbaliyya (sic) for Hanbaliyya (Hanbalite questions). 113. Al-Mas'ala 'a16 I-Zaidiyya (Against the Zaidites). 114. K. mas'alafil-+mic (On consensus). On this question, see below, pp. 287-88. 115. K. mas'alafi I-irida (On the will-act). See below, pp. 164-66. 116. K. mas'ala f i l-qlih (On God's acting for men's best interests). See below, pp. 71-76. 117. K. mas'ala f i aqfi 1-~ahiba(On the farthest removed of the Prophet's Companions). Or perhaps this should read aqdi (most decisive). This probably has to do with authority for traditions.

118. Mas'alaft-nshiq6q al-qamar wa taklim al-dhird' (On the desving of the moon and giving power of speech to the foream). O n miracles see below, pp. 84-86. 119. K. mas'alafi L-bultigh (On the attainment of legal age). 120. Mm'alafi tabrim dhabi'ih ah1 al-kit56 ((On the prohibition of meat butchered by People of the Book). Sezgin, I, 551, n. 3. Sezgin's comment that this question is about sacrifices is incorrect. Najaf: al-IJakim, ms. 539 (3). 121. K. mas'alafi bakh~i~ al-ayyiirn (On the specification of days). O n this problem, see above, 8 106, or after 8 55. 122. K. mas'alafi khabar Mcirya (On the tradition about Mary the Copt). Published in al-Thaqalrin, pp. 29-33. Qurnm: Mar'ashi, m.jmii'a, n. 19, entitled Mas'alat al-Ddwhdni wa jawdbuhd; Najaf: al-yakirn, ms. 998 (9); Tehran: Majlis, VII, 104, n. 8131, entitled fladith Miriya 2-qibfi (sic). f5 njg' al-shams (On the Prophet's miracle of reversing the course 124. Mas'ala fi 1-'itr (On the origin, or natural disposition). O r probably this ,should be 'itra (family relations), as it is in Agh5 Buzurg, XX, 389. 125. K. mas'ala fi qawilhi: al-mutlaqcit (On the words of the Quran: Divorced women ) The reference is to Quran 2:228 or 241. 126. K. mas'ala fi 1-qiycis mukhtcyar (Abridged treatise on analogical reasoning). 127. K. m a ~ ' a l a f i -rawathu E'liinma (On tradition(s) the Sunnites relate). ~ 128. K. mar'ala fi I-mash 'di l-n$ain (On wiping the feet). Qumm: Mar'ashi, mcr&fi'a, n. 10, adds to the title jamt bain al-Shaikh wa-bain A65 Ja'fer al-Nus@ f f majLis (which was discussed in a meeting between the Shaikh and Abti Ja'far al-Nasafi) ; Najaf: al-uakim, m . 998 (5), entitled Munaarat al-MufZd ma' al-Nasafi f i 1-mash s 'a16 L-tijlain; Tehran: Majlis, VII, 130, n. 2516, 129. K. mas'ala fi 1-mi'rcij (On the Prophet's journey to the seven heavens). 130. K. mas'ala fi ma'Mat al-nab; bil-kit6ba (On the Prophet's knowing how ta. write). See below, p. 102.

... .

...

al-Tijf riyya, n.d.). 132. K. mas'ala fi ma'na' qawl al-nabi: a,s&bi kal-nujrSm (On the Prophet's saying: My Companions are like the stars).

THE THEOLOOY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP!D

INTRODUCTION

Qumm: Mar'ashi, majml'a, n. 18, entitled Mas'alafil-nu$$ 'ald Amir al-Mu'minin sa'alahu 'add 1-Briqillrini; Najaf: al-vakim, ms. 998 (6), entitled Ib/ril al-shubha, and ms. 998 (1l), entitled Muncigarat al-Shaikh al-Mrtfid ma' al-Briqillrini. 136. K. mas'ala fi nikrih al-kitribiyyrit (On marrying women from the People of the Book). 137. Mas'alafi wujtib al-janna li-man yansub wilridatahu i l i 1-nabi (On the certainty of the Prophet's descendants reaching the Garden). 138. Mas'ala fi 1-wakrila (On the office of agent for the Hidden Imam). 139. K. al-mas'ala 1-kcifiya fi ib/il tawbat al-khri/i'a (The sufficient question on the invalidity of a sinful woman's repentance). The supposition is that the woman has no intention of giving up her prostitution. On the conditions for valid repentance, see below, pp. 264-67. 140. Mas'ala Muhammad b. al-Khidr al-Fririsi (Reply to a question of M. b. al-Khidr al-Flrisi) . 141. Al-Mas'ala 1-muqni'afiimrimat Amir al-Mu'minin (The convincing reply about 'Ali's imamate). 142. Al-Mas'ala 1-miidiba 'an asbib nikrih Amir al-Mu'minin (A reply clarifying the reasons for 'Ali's marriage). 143. K. al-mas'ala 1-miidiha f i tazwij 'Uthmin (Clarification about the giving in marriage to 'Uthmln). The problem is that Muhammad gave his daughters Zainab and Ruqayya to 'Uthmln in marriage. Al-Mufid treats this also in al-Masri'il alsarawiyya, q. 10. 144. K. masi'il ah1 al-khilif (Questions of the disputers). Al-MaJ'il al-Jhriidiyya (Questions about the paIty of Abii Jlriid). Published in al-Thaqalrin, pp. 2-9. Tehran: Majlis, VII, 64, n. 2514; Qumm: Mar'ashi, majmii'a, s n. 6, entitled Mukhta:ar min al-kalim 'aM 1-Zaidiyya; Najaf: al-Hakim, m . 433 (4), entitled al-Masri'il al-jaliyya f i radd 'a15 1-Jdriidiyya. On Abii Jlriid and the sect he founded, a branch of the Zaidis, see al-Hasan b. Miisl 1-Nawbakhti, KitibJiraq al-shi'a, ed. H. Ritter ("Bibliotheca islamica," Vol. IV; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1931), pp. 19, 48-49; C. Van Arendonk, Les Dkbuts de l'imamat zaidite au Ykmen, tr. J. Ryckmans (Leiden: Brill, 1960), pp. 78-80. Al-Masi'il al-Jurj6niyya (Replies to the men of Jurjln). Al-Tiisi and Ibn Shahrbhiib mention it. 145. Masri'il al-Zaidiyya (Questions of the Zaidites). This may be the same as al-Masri'il al-Jiriidiyya. See Aghs Buzurg, XX, 351. Al-Masi'il al-Sarawiyya (Questions from Sarw). Ibn Shahrlshiib mentions it. Published as "Rislla f i ajwibat al-masl'il al-Sarawiyya llati waridat min Sayyid Fldil f i Slriya wal-ajwiba lil-Shaikh al-Mufid," in al-Thaqalin, pp. 41-66. Sezgin, I, 551, n. 17; Tehran: Tehran University, ms. 2319 (2). 146. K. al-masri'il al-Sighiniyya (Replies to questions from Slghln). Published as al-Masci'il al-Sighriniyyaf i radd 'aM Abi (-Ianifa (Najaf: al-'Ad1 al-isliimi, n.d.). Qumm: Mar'ashi, majmii'a, n. 2; Najaf: al-Hakim, ms. 1101 (1). Al-Mufid replies to ten objections raised by a Hanafite shaikh against Imlmi legal positions on marriage, divorce, inheritance, and blood money. After the tenth question al-Mufid launches his own attack upon Abii Hanifa's legal doctrines. This

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latter section (pp. 47-63) is probably the treatise Ibn Shahrlshtib refers to as K. fadri3ib Abi Hanifa. 147. K. al-masi'il al-'ashara f i 1-ghaiba (Ten questions on the Occultation of the Imam). Published as al-Fu~iilfi l-ghaiba (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1951);and as the first, letter in Khams rasi'il fi ithbrit al-hujja (Najaf: al-Tijlriyya, 1951). Qumm: Mar'ashi majmii'a, n. 9, entitled Sharh al-ajwiba 'an al-masi'il f i 1-'ashara l=fk$iil 'ammri yata'allaq bi-Mahdi 21 al-Rasiil wa huwa jawrib al-ra'is Abi I-'Ali' b. T+ al-Mulk. The sixth of questions may be the same as Najaf: Amir al-Mu'minin, ms. 41, entitled Risrila f i fiil al-'umr lil-Imim al-munta<ar. Al-Masci'il al-'Ukbariyya (Replies to questions from 'Ukbara). See above, 4 42. Al-Masi'il al-MSzandariniyya (Replies to questions from Mlzandarln). Al-Tiisi mentions it, as does al-Mufid in "al-Sarawiyya," p. 57, where he says these questions have to do with reliability of some traditions. If these two texts are correct, the statement in the article, "Mlzandarln, in E.I.' that the name does not appear before Seljuq times needs revision. However Sprenger's edition of al-Tiisi's al-Fihrist (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1855), has "al-Mlzariiniyya." Al-Masi'il al-manthiira (Scattered questions). Al-Tcsi mentions it and says it contains about a hundred questions. 148. K. masi'il al-nuqum (Questions about regulations). 149. K. al-masi'il al-wirida 'an Abi 'Abd Allih Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahmin alFririsi 1-muqim bil-mashhad bil-Nawbandajin (Replies to questions from Abii 'Abd Alllh ... who lives in the shrine in the city of Nawbandajln). Al-Masri'il al-wirida mill Khiizistrin (Questions from Khiizistln). Ibn Shahrlshiib mentions it. 150. K. ma~ibihal-nCr. Ibn Shahrlshiib adds to this, ... fi 'alcimit awd'il al-shuhiir (Lamps of light on the signs of the beginnings of the months). On this question, see above, $ 106. O n the work, see below, pp. 307-08. 151. K. maqcibis al-anwcir f i I-radd 'alci ah1 al-akhbir (Glowing coals in refutation of the traditionists).
'

152. K. al-muqni'a f i l-fiqh (The convincing, on jurisprudence). Sezgin, I, 550, n. 1. Also lithographed in Tehran, 1276 H., according to A1 Ylsin, and "in Persia" in two volumes in 1316-17 H. according to D. Donaldson, The Shiite Religion (London: Luzac, 1933), p. 288. Najaf: Amir al-Pvlu'minin, ms. 641; Mashhad: Ridgwiyya, V, 620, nn. 635-38. This is al-Mufid's major work on jurisprudence. Al-Tiisi's Tahdhib al-ahkrim is a commentary on it. Al-Mubin f i 1-imcima (The clear, on the imamate). Ibn Shahrzshiib mentions it.
,

153. K. manisik al-hajj (Pilgrimage rites). 154. K. manisik al-hajj mukhta~ar(Summary of t!le treatise on pilgrimage rites). -41-Munir f i 1-imrima (The enlightening treatise on the imamate). Al-Tki menItions it. 155. K. al-miidibf i 1-wa'id (The clarifying treatise on the Threat). On this ques>tion,see below, pp. 251-53.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

156. K. al-nqra fifadl al-qur'in (Victory, on the excellence of the Quran). On this question, see below, pp. 86-89. 157. K. al-nwra li-Sayyid al-'itra. Al-Tiisi adds, fi abkim al-bughi 'alaih bil-Ba~ra (Vindication of 'Ali against those who were treacherous to him at Basra). This is probably identical with the work mentioned above, $ 24. 158. K. naqd 01-imcima 'a15 jalfar b. flarb (Refutation of Ja'far b. Barb's treatise on the imamate). Abii Fadl Ja'far b. Harb al-Hamadhi (d. 2361850) was a Baghdad Mu'tazilite. 159. K. naqd al-khams 'ashara mas'ala 'ali I-Balkhi (Refutation of al-Balkhi's "Fifteen questions"). Abii I-Qiisim al-Balkhi, also known as al-Ka'bi (d. 319/931), was the Baghdad Mu'tazilite with whose teaching al-Mufid was most familiar. 160. K. al-naqd 'ali Abi 'Abd Allcih al-Bapi ft I-mut'a (Refutation of Abii 'Abd Alliih al-Bavri on temporary marriage). On Abii 'Abd Alliih, see above, p. 5. 161. K. al-mGazfihi (An abridgment of the above). This may be the work Sezgin, I, 550, n. 6, refers to as Khulijat al-ijciz f i 1-mut'a (Abstract of the summary on temporary marriage). 162. Al-Naqd 'ali Ibn al-Junaid fi-jtihid ar-ra'y (Refutation of Ibn al-Junaid on the legal use of personal opinion). For al-Mufid's criticism of Ibn al-Junaid, see below, p. 306. 163. K. al-naqd 'ali Ibn 'Abbcid f i I-imima (Refutation of Ibn 'Abbld on the imamate). On al-S~hib Ibn 'Abbiid, see above, p. 13. 164. Al-NaqQ 'ala I-jihiz fadilat al-mu'tatila (sic), for fi fadilat ... (Refutation of al-JHhi?;' book, "The Excellence of the Mu'tazilites". See also below, $ 170. 165. K. al-naqd 'ali 1-Talhi f i I-ghaiba (Refutation of al-Talhi on the Occultation).

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DOUBTFUL SPURIOUS AND WORKS


Najaf: al-Hakim, ms. 998 (4), entitled Radd 'ali man yaz'am anna I-nabi yashu' (Refutation of him who claims that the Prophet was distracted in prayer); Qumm: Marcashi, majmti'a, n. 3, entitled Jawib ah1 al-fli'irfi sahw al-nabi (Reply to the people of al-HB'ir on the Prophet's distraction); Berlin: Ahlwardt, 11, 171, n. 1370, enwal-nawm 'anhi, "perhaps by titled al-Radd 'alaihi f i qawlihi bi-sahw al-nabi f i 1-~alcit al-Mufid," (Refutation of him [i.e. Ibn Biibiiya] in his saying that the Prophet was distracted and slept in the time of prayer) ; al-RisCla 1-sahwiyya, quoted in full by Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Bil~iral-anwir (Tehran: lithograph, 1305), VI, 29799. Al-Majlisi says it is either by al-Mufid or al-MurtadL. Tehran: Majlis, VII, 140, 23/00, entitled al-Risila I-sahwiyya, and also called Jawib ah1 al-fli'ir fimd sa'alti u min sahw al-nabi (Reply to what the people of al-Hii'ir have asked concerning the Prophet's distraction).

166. K. al-naqd 'alci 'Ali b. 'A6 1-Rummini. Al-Tiisi adds, ...fi I-imima (Refutation of 'Ali b. 'Isa on the imamate). On this man see above, p. 10. 167. Al-Naqd 'all Ghulim al-Bahrini fi I-imima (Refutation of al-BahrPni's disciple on the imamate). 168. K. al-naqd 'ali I-Na~ibi i I-imima (Refutation of al-Napibi on the imamate). f 169. Al-Naqd 'aM I-Wcisifi (Refutation of al-WIsiti). This may be Abii 'Abd Alliih Muhammad b. Zaid al-W2siti (d. 3061918-19), a disciple of Abii 'Ali al-Jubbii'i who lived in Baghdad. See Ibn al-Nadim, p. 172. 170. K. naqd Fadilat al-mu'tazila (Refutation of "The Excellence of the Mu'tazila"). This must be identical with the work named above, 5 164. 17 1. K. naqd kitib al-A~amm i I-imcima (Refutation of al-A~amm'sbook on the f imamate). This would be Abii Bakr 'Abd al-Rahman b. Kaisiin al-Asamm (d. cir. 2361850)' a Basran Mu'tazilite. See Ibn al-Murtadii, pp. 56-57. (K. naqd al-Marwciniyya. See above, $ 17). (Points on the introductory principles). Ibn ShaliAl-Nukat f i muqaddimlil a l - u ~ d riishtib mentions it. A ms. of this title exists in Najaf: al-Hakim, ms. 364. But see below, pp. 41-44, for reasons why it does not seem to be authentic. 172. Nahj al-bayin 'an sabil al-imin (The way of explication of the path of faith). K. a>-va'd wal-wa'id (On the Promise and the Threat). Al-Mufid mentions it in "al-Sarahiyya," p. 66. I t may be the same as $ 155 or $ 82 above.

This is a point-by-point refutation of Ibn BHbfiya's arguments in support of a tradition that Muhammad once so far forgot himself at Prayer as to exceed the proper number of prostrations.' The editor of the Majlis Library catalogue argues against this being of al-Mufid's works because there is no record of al-Mufid having written a reply to the people of al-HH'ir, whereas his successor, Abti YaClHMuhammad b. al-Hasan b. Hamza al-Jacfari (d. 46311071) did rite a c ~ a w H b al-masi'il al-wHrida min al-HiiYir".2 But although it is doubtful that al-Mufid is the author of this treae, there is no question that the thesis it expresses - that Mubammad was divinely protected from making even such involuntary slips as raction at Prayer - is al-Muf?dysd o ~ t r i n e . ~
Al-Kimiyi' (Chemistry). Tehran: Tehran University, ms. 876.

This is a letter in Persian attributed to al-Mufid. Agh5 Buzurg, XVIII,


Al-Nukat al-i'tiqcidiyya (Clever remarks about belief), edited by Muhammad Taqi anish Pazhiih (Tehran: Iqbal, 1324 H.); Sezgin, I, 550, n. 5; Najaf: al-pakim, m . 998 (I), entitled al-Nukat f i I-'aqi'id al-kalimiyya I-imcimiyya. s
u l-faqih (Iran: lithograph, 1324 H.), p. 74. O n

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

INTRODUCTION

This is a summary catechism in question and answer form of the five main points of Shicitetheology: knowledge of God and His Unity, Justice, prophecy, the imamate, and the Return (al-macid) to life after death for reward or p ~ n i s h m e n t . ~ The treatise begins with an argument for the existence of God in the form of a dialogue with the reader. The reader is led from the admission that he is produced in time (hhdith), and therefore "possible", to the conclusion that there must be a Necessary Being (wlijib al-wujzid). "Necessary" is defined as "what does not need another for its existence and cannot not exist."% God's other attributes are derived from His being Giver of existence to temporal beings (mq'ib al-wujzid), after it is shown that the Giver of existence must be the Necessary Being.3 Aside from al-Nukat al-i'tiq6diyya, whose date is in question here, the notion of creatures as "possible beings" is not found in Muspril theology before al-GhazzZli. In both al-Nukat ol-i'tiqidiyya a 6 d alGhazz2liYsal-Iqti~id fil-i'tiqzd, the definition of possible being is being that had a beginning in time. And material thingslare shown to have begun in time by the familiar kalim proof that theydare compounded of atoms and temporal accident^.^ .
li
These five points are embedded in the middle section of AL-MUF~D'S Awi'il: divine Unity (pp. 17-24), Justice (pp. 24-29), prophecy (pp. 29-33), the imamate (pp. 34-44), and the Return (pp. 45-52); but they by no means constitute the general outline of the Awi'il. Al-Sharif al-Murtadl constructed his treatises with five points, the first four of which are: unity, j-ytice, prophecy, and the imamate. But the fifth point is different. In his "al-Ugfil al-1 tiqidiyya", Nafi'is al-makhlti~it,1st ed. (1954), 11, 81-82, the fifth point is on the Promise and the Threat. In his Jumal al-'ilm wal-amal, ed. Ahmad al-Husaini (Najaf: al-Adlb, 1387 H.), pp. 45-46, the fifth point is on the term of life and sustenance. The five points found in al-Nukat al-i'tiqidiyya, with a proof for God's existence at the beginning, are the common pattern in later Shi'ite theological treatises. See, for example, AL-'ALLAL-HILL& al-Bib al-hidi 'ashar (Tehran: Markaz-i nashr-i kitib, 1370 H.), which is a classic Shi'ite creed. Its arrangement is like that of al-Nukat. a AL-MUF~D al-fid;at aCictiqidiyya,ed. M. T. Dinish Pazhfih (Tehran: IqbHI, (?), 1324 H.), p. 10. Ibid., p. 11. Ibid., p. 4; AL-GIIAZZAL~, al-iqtijid fil-i'tiqcid (Cairo: al-tMatbala l-mahKitib mMiyya 1-tijiriyya, n.d.), pp. 17-18. AI-Ghazzili defines his notion of the possible on p. 17: "We mean by possible

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Possible and necessary being are operative tcrms in the philosophy of al-FZrgbi, who dcrives the notions from his logic: the necessary is that which cannot be conceived as non-existent, and the possible is that conception of essential possibility which can.' According to al-FSLrEbiYs and necessity, a possible being can exist eternally if it eternally receives its existence from the Being who is necessary in Himself. Thus al-FZrZbi says of God: "He is the cause of existence of all things, in the sense that He gives them eternal existence and absolutely wards off non-existence from them: not in the sense that He gives them mere existence after they were non-existent." a The temporal production of the world had always been a premise in the kalzm proof for the existence of God. The theologian who wrote al-Nukat al-ictiqidiyya borrowed a set of philosophical terms (necessary and possible being), but he did not appropriate the philosophical mode of thought from which they came. The proof in al-Nukat is a theological / proof in philosophical trappings. The notions of necessary and possible being appear nowhere in any other writings ascribed to al-Mufid. I t is true that no proof for the existence of God is to be found in any of his certainly authentic writings, and yet it must be presumed that he had a proof, since he deals with , such fine points of theology as atoms and temporal accidents, which were commonly used by theologians to argue to the temporality of the world.

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what can exist and can not exist but which did not exist because its existence is not necessitated by its essence." 1 AL-F&Rhi, " 'Uyih al-masi'il", in AIfiribi's philosophische Abhandlungen, ed. I?. Dieterici (Leiden: Brill, 1890), p. 57: "So we say that there are two kinds of existence: (1) that whose essence can be thought of without necessarily involving its existence - it is called possible of existence -, and (2) that whose essence cannot be thought of without its existence. I t is called necessary of existence. If something is possible of existence, there is no absurdity involved when we suppose it to be nonexistent. It cannot, in its existence, dispense with a cause. And when it must [exist], it becomes necessarily existent by another. Hence it follows that it was something brever possible of existence by itself [and] necessary of existence by another. And this possibility is either eternally something, or else it is at a particular time. And possible things cannot go on endlessly in their being cause and caused. Nor can they be [so] by way of a circle. Rather they must end in some necessary being, which is the First Existent." The priority of which al-Fkibi speaks is not temporal. Ibid., p. 58.

T H E THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH A L - M U F ~ D

INTRODUCTION

Nevertheless the use of the term Necessary Being as a name for God seems very unlikely for al-Mufid, who elsewhere betrays no knowledge of or interest in the terminology of the philosophers. The sections of al-Nukat al-iCtiqrTdiyyawhich deal with justice, prophethood, and the imamate are not different from the doctrine al-Mufid has expressed in writings that are certainly his. However, in the last section, on eschatology, there is one difference. Al-Nukat al-i'tiqddiyya names the "witnessing of the limbs" among the events of Judgment day that are "true, which none of the faithful doubts." l But in his Awd'il al-maqdlit, al-Mufid had interpreted the witnessing I " , , of the limbs metaphorically.8 1 '
Kitib al-nukat f i muqaddimit a l - ~ 6 1 , min imli' al-Shaikh al-Ajall al-Mufid Muhammad b. al-Nu'mrin al-Birithi, radi Allih 'anh wa ar&h (Clever remarks on the introductory principles), Najaf: al-Hakim, ms. 364.

it is called bae'.' On page six of t l ~ c rn;lnuscript, God's attributes of being Seer and Hcarcr arc dcrivcd from His being living, whcreas in the Awd'il al-nznqdlit they arc derived from His being k n o ~ i n g .And finally, on ~ the last pnge of the nm-mscript the author hesitates to say that believing sinners will be saved. That, he says, is up to God. The certainly authentic writings of al-Mufid say clearly that the believing grave sinner will eventually be brought into the Garden.3

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Although Ibn al-Shahrahfib gives this title in his list, there are serious reasons for doubting that this manuscript is genuine. The treatise begins by asking what is the first duty God puts upon morally responsible men, and it answers that this is the duty to reason upon proofs of His existence. This is quite different from the position al-Mufid takes in explaining a tradition of al-Siidiq, that man's first duty is to know his L ~ r d and al,~ Mufid's thesis that reason needs the help of revelation for certitude in its knowledge and derived con~lusions.~ Furthermore, the definitions of good (al-haran) found on the third page of the manuscript as "what is in harmony with reason," and of evil (al-qabih) as "what is note in harmony with reason," are remarkably rationalist. Al-Mufid does not make reason the final criterion of morality his certainly authentic writing^.^ On the fourth page of the manuscript, the quality of permanence which accidents lack is called labth, whereas in the Asud'il al-nzaqcildt -

1 8

Al-Nukat al-i'tiqidiyya, pp. 38-39. Awi'il, pp. 103-04, quoted infra, pp. 274-75. Quoted b y A L - K ~ w i i ~ s h i ,543; see infra, p. 58. p. AL-MUP~D, Awi'il, p. 1 1 ; quoted infra, p. 60. See infra, pp. 62-66.

AL-MUF~D, Awi'il, p. 78, quoted infra, p. 195. Ibid., p. 20, quoted infra, p. 145. Ibid., p. 14, quoted infra, pp. 252-53.

PART I

MU'TAZILISM

CHAPTER I

SYNOPSIS OF T W O SYSTEMS

Part I of this study will describe al-Mufid's theology in comparison with 'Abd al-Jabbir's. I t will attempt to show the differences between their views, to suggest what was the source of al-Mufid's doctrines, and to offer reasons historical or logical for his disagreement with 'Abd alJabbSir. Where al-Mufid does hold a Mu'tazilite position on a subject in which the Baghdad school is at odds with the Basran, al-Mufid almost always agrees with the former school. Hence the historical reason for many of al-Mufid's differences from 'Abd al-Jabbsr will simply be that there is a Baghdad Mu'tazilite doctrine on this or that point at variance with the Basran position. So an added task will often be to determine from the testimony of al-Mufid, 'Abd al-JabbHr, or al-Ashcari, what was the position of the Baghdad school on the point at issue. Before descending into details it may be helpful to devote this first chapter to a summary view of the systems of al-Mufid and 'Abd al-Jabbir. Here the emphasis will be on each system's inner coherence, in an attempt to do justice to each. For the central theses of al-Mufid and 'Abd al-Jabbir are different. Points which will be examined later piecemeal in their similarities and differences are put together differently in each system. The aim here is to set forth the core doctrine in each system and show how the other parts of the system are related to it.

At-MUF~D'S SYSTEM.
The arrangement of al-Mufid's doctrines into a system will necessarily be artificial, for his extant theological works show that order was not one of his strong points. Much of his writing is in the form of
4

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

SYNOPSIS OF TWO SYSTEMS

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collections of answers to questions, and there the legal, historical, and theological are mixed without plan. The only one of his theological treatises with its own order is Awi'il al-maqilZt, which has three parts: first, the main points of difference between the Imamites and other groups, especially the Mu'tazilites (pp. 2-16) ; second, a more detailed treatment of God's Unity, Justice, prophecy, the imamate, and the Return (pp. 17-52)l; and finally various headings, some of which are called "fine points of theology", grouped according to subject but arranged without discernible plan (pp. 53-108). Al-Muf?dYs central thesis to which all his other doctrines are related is that one must believe in the presence in the world of the infallible Imam.' Several problems are involved in this thesis, and they give rise to the related questions which occupied him. He devoted a very large part of his writings to defending the rightful succession to the imamate of 'Ali and his eleven descendants.3 Al-Mufid holds that the Imams were protected from committing all sins and even from shortcomings in legal duties arising from inad.~ vertence during the time they were in ~ f f i c e In accordance with traditions, al-Mufid is inclined to believe the Imams knew all arts and languages. But he adds that this is by no means essential to the imamate. I n some instances the Imams knew the future and the consciences of particular men, but al-Mufid will not say categorically that they knew the unseen (al-ghaib), for this is true only of God. I t is even possible, he says, that an Imam might miss a hidden truth and judge by appearances i n a given case.5 The Imams were created in time, and during their lifetimes they were subject to physical ills and harm like other men. But the bodies of the dead Imams are now in the Garden, not in their tombs..
Cf. supra, p. 42, n. 1. Awri'il, p. 8; al-Fupil, pp. 239-40. "Infallible is used here as a rough, inadequate translation for the quality of one possessing 'i~ma, which means protection from both
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Man's duty is to know the Imam of his age. Accordirig to the Imamite tradition which al-Mufid defends in its strictness, whoever dies without knowing the Imam of his age dies the death of one who lived in pre-Islamic times.' Hence God's revelation through the Prophet and the Imams is absolutely necessary for man if he is to enter the Garden. That the Imam of al-Mufid's day happened to be in hiding led to alMufd's writings on the Occultation (ghaiba) and its two special problems: the reason for the delay in the Mahdi's return, and his miraculous preservation from ageing during the period of his hiding.a Although reason ('aql) needs the aid of revelation (sam') for attaining secure conclusions and for arriving at first principles about moral obligation,s nevertheless the believer's faith must be real intellectual knowledge based somehow on reason. Blind acceptance of authority (taqlid) will not do, for what is accepted blindly is not held firmly. The Hidden Imam, for example, has not yet reappeared because he knows that the belief of many of his party is based simply upon taqlid, and such people cannot be relied upona4 Everyone who has intelligence is morally bound to use it on the proof for God's existence. The person who is able to use his reason but does not will be punished in the Fire forever, for he is not a real b e l i e ~ e r . ~ Reasoning about God leads to the knowledge of His Unity. This includes the theses that God is living, powerful, knowing all things, Hearer, Seer, willing and hating, and not visible to the eye.. But one should not go beyond the Quran and traditions and assign names to God which have their basis in reason alone.' Reason, helped by revelation, also leads to conclusions about God's Justice. God created creatures and commands their obedience for their own good. In fact He acts only for the best interests (al-qlah)
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error and sin. See, for

example, these works of AL-MUF~D: al-Irshcid, al-If&% I-irncrna, and fi "al-Masi'il al-jgrtidiyya." "wci'il, pp. 29, 35. Ibid., pp. 36-38. 6 Ibid., pp. 45-46.

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AL-MUF~D, rasri'il fi ithbrit al-bujja, Second Letter. Kham Ibid., passim; al-Ftytil, p. 266. Awi'il, pp. 11-12. 4 Al-Fwd, p. 78. Ibid., p. 79. Awci'il, pp. 18-23; al-Ftytil, p. 38. ' Awci'il, p. 22.
I

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

SYNOPSIS OF TWO SYSTEMS

of His creatures in this world and the next.l Following the Baghdad school of Mu'tazilites, al-Mufid holds that God must so act because of His wisdom, not from justice. This consideration is carried over into al-Mufid's entire doctrine of favor (lutf). The imamate too is a favor from God. God never commands anything that is beyond the creature's ability to fulfill.2 And God wills no sin on anyone's part.3 Those Imamites who held otherwise are not really believers, and they should not be treated as fellow Muslims.4 Throughout his theology, al-Mufid maintains $that God is just and man is free. This he defends as stoutly as '"any Muctazilite. I I n the last days before the end of the world, the Imam of this age, the Mahdi, will return to vindicate the rights of the Family of 'Ali and their followers. God will also bring back to life numbers of the very good and the very bad for a final battle. God will give the former victory over the latteryeand then both parties will die again to await the final resurrection on the Day of J ~ d g m e n t . ~ Meanwhile, until the Twelfth Imam's return, the Imamite is permitted, and sometimes obliged, to practice dissimulation of his religion (tagiyya). The right and duty of taqiyya restrains and limits the Imamite's profession of allegiance to the Hidden Imam? The practice of taqiyya itself is justified by the example of the Hidden Imam's own use of it for his personal protection until the time is ripe for reappearance. On the Last Day, the Prophet and the Imams and their just followers will intercede for all believers, even for grave sinners among them. And they all shall enter the Garden. Only the unbelievers will be in hell forever?

Details and fuller references to what has appeared in this summary will come in the chapters to follow. Here the one point to notice is that al-Mufid'~main theses have a connection with the doctrine of the imamate and the necessity of knowing the Imam of the age in which one lives. The Imam of al-Mufid's age was the awaited Mahdi. 'ABD AL-JABBAR'S SYSTEM.

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Ibid., pp. 25-26. Ibid., pp. 24-25. AL-MUF~D, pp. 15-20. Tailrill, AL-MUF~D, "al-Sarawiyya," p. 55.
Awi'il, p. 50.

In presenting 'Abd al-Jabbiir's system it is not possible to adhere always to the divisions he used, for his own divisions differ from treatise to treatise. The Sharh al-u@l al-khanzsa employs the traditional five Mu'tazilite headings (God's Unity, Justice, the Promise and the Threat, the middle position, and commanding the good and forbidding the bad). But the compiler of that treatise, MHnaklim, notes that the divisions in al-Mughni are only two: Unity and Justice; and in the lost Mukhta~ar al-hasani the sections are four: Unity, Justice, prophecy, and legal questions - which latter include the Promise and the Threat, names and statutes, and commanding the good and forbidding the bad. I n al-Mughni 'Abd al-JabbHr includes prophecy and legal questions under the heading of justice, since if God knows our best interests demand His sending a prophet with a law, it belongs to His Justice to send him.' Despite these differences of division, there is in the treatises which have survived, al-Mughni, Sharh al-u@l al-khamsa, and al-Muhit biltaklif, a constant central theme which gives one basic starting point: that a moral obligation is imposed upon man to reason to the knowledge of God.2 All other acts to which man is morally obliged become reasona E only after he has come to know the God who imposes the obligation b upon him. The other main points raised in 'Abd al-JabbHr's treatises are all connected with one of the three terms of this central thesis: knowledge and reasoning, God, and the imposition of moral obligation (taklif) The problems treated under the heading of knowledge have the slim of vindicating the Muctazilite opposition to taqlidm3 Reason, without

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Ibid., pp. 96-97. Ibid., pp. 52, 57.

'ABD AL-JABBAR, pp. 122-23. Sharh, Ibid., p. 39; al-Mughni, XII, 509; al-Muhi), I, 26. Sharh, pp. 39-74; al-Mughni, Vol. XII, passim.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

GYNOPSIS OF TWO SYSTEMS

the help of revelation, is capable of generating certitude.l This position is fundamental in 'Abd al-Jabbiir's theology. The second term of the central thesis is God. This involves, first, a proof of His existence, which rests on the world's being produced in time (hridith). What is produced needs a producer. Establishing the first premise leads 'Abd al-Jabbiir into a treatment of physics: accident, substance, the composition of bodies from atoms, the produced and the eternal. Bodies must be produced in time because they are never without temporal accident^.^ Once reason has attained this knowledge of God's existence, it proceeds to give Him attributes. He is powerful, knowing, living, Hearer, Seer, existing, and eternal.3 This raises two problems: the logical question of the meaning of attribution, and the metaphysical problem of the way God has these attribute^.^ 'Abd al-Jabbgr solves the latter question by following Aba Hashim al-Jubbg'i's theory of states (ahwil).6 God's attributes of action, such as His being willing and hating, commanding and f ~ r b i d d i n g ,and speaking,' are taken up separately ~ from His attributes of essence because His attributes of action presuppose a consideration of His Justice.8 God's negative attributes are also considered. He is not a body, not an accident, not visible, and has no partner. In other words, He is unique and absolute.@ The imposition of moral obligation upon man implies three theses: the moral status of acts, justice on God's part, and freedom on man's. These three, with their many subdivisions, make up the category of Justice.
1

The imposition of commands upon man must be just. God, therefore, must be shown to have the attribute of justice, meaning that He does not do wrong. The proof that He does no injustice rests upon His freedom from need, established in the section on His Unity. There it is said that He does no injustice because He does not need to do any, for he has nothing to gain.l Why, then, does God create? He creates for the welfare of creat u r e ~ This makes it necessary to answer the problem of suffering with .~ a doctrine of its utility and compensation? And from man's side the problem is that of the sanction of the commands imposed on him: reward and punishment, or "the Promise and the Threat."Q The principle that reward goes only to the believer and is given neither to the unrepentant grave sinner nor to the unbeliever leads to the problem of "the Names and the Statutes." The question here is: what constitutes a believer, or especially, whether a grave sin excludes one from that category.= Another requisite for the justice of God's morally obliging man is that man be free to choose obedience or disobedience. This means that man must be the producer of his own acts. He must have the ability (istitd'a) for the act prior to the act itself? Disobedience comes only from man. God cannot will that a man disobey, for this would be against God's Justice. Then is it just for God to impose a command on a man who He forsees will disobey? 'Abd alJabbar answers that God's object in creating man is not to give him a reward outright, but to give him the opportunity of choosing what will bring him a reward. God's foreknowledge of a man's choice does not predetermine that choice.' Zbid., p. 316; al-Mughni, VI, Part 1, 177 ff. Ibid., XI, 116. Zbid., XIII, 377, 448-568; Sharjl, pp. 503 ff. Zbid., pp. 61 1-93. Zbid., pp. 697-718. Zbid., pp. 390-417; al-Mughni, XI, 367-406. Sharb, pp. 51 1-18; al-Mughni, XI, 406-1 7.

Zbid., XII, 69-126. Sharb, pp. 87-122. Zbid., pp. 151-82 ; al-Mughni, V, 204-46. Zbid., pp. 160-204. Sharjl, pp. 182-200. Al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 104-941. Zbid., VII, 58; Sharh, p. 535. Al-Mughni, XX, Part 2, 186-237. Sharjl, pp 2 13-91.

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THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

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God's imposition of command is fittingly, but not necessarily, accompanied by His favoring help (luff), which means anything that supports a man's weakness and removes obstacles to his choosing obedience. Since God's revelation is a kind of luff, a treatment of the Quran follows. Next comes a section on prophecy,3 the prophet's credential of miracle, and his protection from sin and error ('i;ma). 4 And 'Abd al-Jabbir specifies in what sense the Quran itself is a miracle.5 The heading of revelation is also the occasion to treat legal questions, such as the general and particular command and prohibition, the nature of consensus, the actions of the Apostle as a standard for conduct, the use of analogy, personal endeavor, and the value of traditions from a single source.6 Loosely connected with the notion of luff as a help to right action is the Mu'tazilite principle of "commanding the good and forbidding the bad." Not much is made of this as a principle of action, for 'Abd al-Jabbir is writing in a period of late Mu'tazilism. But under this heading comes the treatment of the imamate, the office of the person principally responsible for commanding the good and forbidding the bad. The necessity for having an imam, his qualities, and the way of choosing him are taken up.8 In brief, 'Abd al-Jabbir's system is centered around the thesis that man is under an imposed moral obligation to reason to the knowledge of God. The details of this system should become clearer in the chapters to come which compare 'Abd al-Jabbir's system with alMufid's.

CHAPTER I1

MORAL OBLIGATION AND THE ROLE O F REASON

Undertaking to present Islam to the minds of unbelievers, the Mu'tazilites recognized a distinction between knowledge that is had necessarily, which cannot be denied, and other knowledge which is acquired by a process of reasoning which the mind is free to embark upon or to neglect. The Mu'tazilites held that knowledge of God is in this latter category, and so they were faced with the question of man's initial moral obligation to acquire this knowledge. This is the problem of God's imposition of moral obligation (taklif) upon man, and it takes its rise not from philosophical speculation, but from the ethical and even juridical problem of the status of the non-believer. Al-Mufid did not begin from a consideration of the non-believer's status. Rather he was in general concerned with the necessity of having an Imam at all times, and so when he came to speak of the beginning of moral obligation, he asserted the insufficiency of unaided reason and the necessity of revelation.

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Sharh, pp. 518 25; a full treatment of luff is given in al-Mughni, XIII, 3-226. Sharh, pp. 527-48; al-Mughni, VII. Ibid., XV, 7-146. 4 Ibid., 147-316; Sharh, pp. 568, 573, 585. Ibid., pp. 586-95; al-Mughni, XVI, 145-406. Vharh, pp. 573-85; al-Mughni, XVII. Sharb, pp. 741 ff. Ibid., pp. 749-60; al-Mughni, XX, Part 1, 11-185.
1

On some of al-Mufid's remarks which seem to accuse the Basrans of contraaicting this, see the excursus at the end of this chapter. a This is pointed out by J. VANESS, Die Erkenntnislehre des 'Adudaddin .al-Ici ("Aka demie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur," Vol. XXII; Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1966), p. 16. For a study of the history of the problem of moral obligation in kalkm, see R.BRUNSCHVIO, "Devoir et pouvoir," Studia Islamica, XX (1964), 5-46.

THE THEOLOGY OF

A - H I H AL-MUP~D LS AK

MORAL OBLIGATION AND THE ROLE O F REASON

Man's first duty, says 'Abd al-Jabbir, is to reason to the knowledge of God. He will not allow it to be said that man's first duty is to know God, for God's existence must first be recognized by a process of reasoning. Al-Mufid on the other hand says that man's first duty is to know God. Commenting on a tradition of the Imam Ja'far al-Sidiq which says that man's knowledge consists of four points (knowing your Lord, knowing what He has done for you, knowing what He wants of you, and knowing how to fulfill your obligation), al-Mufid says: This division takes in the knowledge that is obligatory. For the servant's duty is to know his Lord - glorious is He! And when he knows he has a God, he must know He made him. And when he knows He made him, he knows His favor. And when he knows His favor, he must thank Him, and he must know that He wills obedience in his actions. And being morally obliged to obedience, he must know what actions will acquit him of this debt, whereby he may give obedience to his Lord and thanks for His favor^.^ The Baghdad Mu'tazilites too are reported to have said that man's first duty is to know God.4 How
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The difference between al-Mufid and 'Abd al-Jabbir on man's first duty is carried over into their views about the. strength of_unai.de.d reason. The Mu'tazilite position was that man's knowledge of his first duty arises independently of revelation. Sharh, p. 39. Ibid., p. 72. AL-KHWANSAR~, quoting ABO L-FATH p. 543, MUHAMMAD L ~AL-KARAJAK~, B 'A : Kanz al-fawd'id. 4 SULAIMAN B. MUHAMMAD B. AHMAD AL-MUI;IALL~, "Al-Burhiin al-r8'iq" (Cairo: Diir al-kutub micro-film collection of Yemeni mss., 5 53), fol. 6b: "Of those who
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'Abd al-JabbZr defines taklifas "willing an act that is inconvenient to the one under moral obligation (al-mukallaf) ." l Whereas Abii HZshim al-Jubbi'i's definition was the "commanding of what is inconvenient to the one under moral obligation," 'Abd al-Jabbir explains that, strictly speaking, the essence of moral obligation is the will of the obliger, and that notifying the person obliged and enabling him to perform what the obliger wills are necessary conditions. Abii HZshim, he says, was speaking broadly.' But the problem is: how does God first make His will known to an individual? This cannot be done by the revealed Law, since the man does not yet have the knowledge necessary for him to accept the Law. Until, for example, a man knows that God is just and therefore will not lie, it is useless to argue from the Quran. The Quran itself may be a deliberate lie, for all this man knows.8 As 'Abd al-JabbZr explains it, knowledge ('ilm) is that which sets at rest the mind of its possessor.4 God can and does establish certain principles in the mind which i t is not in man's power to deny, such as the obligation of giving thanks for a favor, the necessity of warding off foreseen harm, and the goodness of doing good.= All this is necessary knowledge, about which there can be no argument or confusion. Now the man begins to fear potential harm to himself. And he knows that the only way to allay this fear and gain peace of mind is by reasoning his way to true knowledge. This fear comes to him from outside, by hearing the warning of another man or by listening to men accuse one another of unbelief and threaten one another with consequent punishment.6 The first motive for the fear must come from without, for the harm feared is different from any harm the man has hitherto experienced.' But after this first suggestion of fear, the man's own reason is

Al-Mughni, XI, 293.


8

Ibid., p. 299. Sharh, p. 401.

say it [i.e., knowledge] is acquired, there are two parties: some say it is the first duty. This is the doctrine of all ( jamhiir) the People of the House--on them be peace!-and it is the doctrine of the Baghdadis like Abii 1-Qiisim al-Balkhi and others. And we hold it too. Others say reasoning is the first duty. This is false."

Al-Mughni, XII, 13. Sharh, p. 48; al-Mubit, I, 18. Sharjr, p. 68. ' Al-Mughni, XII, 387.

THE THEOLOOY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF!D

MORAL OBLIGATION AND THE ROLE OF REASON

able to carry him along the course of proofs for God's existence and of God as the rewarder and punisher. The reasoning process is able to generate knowledge and calming certitu 'e in the reasoner.' Hence, according to 'Abd al-Jabbiir, man's first obligation, arising from an initial fear occurring to the mind but not from revelation as found in the Quran and the sunna, is to put himself on the road that will lead him to this knowledge of God.2 In al-Mufid's view, reason has considerably less power. He says:

'

Thesis that reason (al-'aql) is not [i.e., cannot be] separate from revelation (ram'), and that moral obligation can be imposed only by those who are sent by God (al-rusul). The Imiimis agree that reason needs revelation in its premises and its conclusions (fi 'ilmihi wa natd'ijih), and that it does not [i.e., cannot] dispense with revelation for informing the ignorant of how demonstration (al-istidlil) works. And an apostle is necessary for ,the initial imposition of moral obligation and its beginning in the ( world. The traditionists agree with them on that. The Mu'tazila, the Kharijites, and the Zaidis oppose it, claiming that minds work independently of revelation and outside help (tawf iq) . However the Baghdadis, alone of the Mu'tazila, do require the sending of an apostle at the first imposition of moral obligation, while differing from the Imiimis in their reasons for holding that. They urge reasons which the Imiimis also approve, and add them to reasons of their own, as we have describeda3

, ,

Thus for al-Mufid unaided reason, far from being necessary to bring one to knowledge of God, cannot acquire knowledge either of God or of moral obligation. Ibid., pp. 77 ff.
a

For the division among the non-Mu'tazilite Sunnites on this problem, see

This points to a basic difference between al-Mufid's use of reason and that of 'Abd al-Jabbiir. Reason in 'Abd al-Jabbiir's system is necessary to establish the basic truths of religion; in al-Mufid's scheme reason is used to defend these basic doctrines which have been established through God's revelation. This defensive use of reason is apparent 1 ihroughout al-Mufid's theology, even when he talks about the finer points. For example, a physical theory such as the theory of the four :lements is not mentioned in the Quran or in traditions. O n the other nand, al-Mufid notes, besides having no reliable arguments against it, .t contradicts neither God's "Unity, Justice, the Promise and the Threat, prophetic mission, nor legal points." l And so al-Mufid accepts the theory. Indeed, he adds, it rather supports the proofs for God's existence and His lordship, wisdom, and Unity. The theory's harmony with revealed , ' ioctrine rather than positive arguments seems to be what really wins ~l-Mufid's acceptance. Al-Mufid's claim to have the Baghdad Mu'tazilites on his side for part of his thesis on the necessity of revelation is puzzling. Al-Balkhi admits that taqlid, when it happens to be correct, can be a source of real knowledgeY2and here he is opposed by both 'Abd al-Jabbiir and al-Mufid. But he also maintains, as the Basrans do, that man first becomes morally responsible through the natural working of his own mind: as he comes to maturity he awakens to the need to thank his Creator - if He exisk3 This thought puts him on the way to reasoning about His zxistence. And although al-Balkhi also said that man's first duty is to know God, he undoubtedly understood this to include the obligation to reason to His existence. The Baghdadis, however, were less sure of the necessary workingout of the reasoning process thus begun. Al-Ash'ari mentions this difi' ference between the Basrans and the Baghdadis : while the former hold

VANESS,pp. 326-27, who points out that for the Ash'arites there could be no command
without God's express word. But, he says, this was not the doctrine in early Islam, for then the alternatives were not recognized. Abfi Uanifa said that God would have to be known by reason had He not sent a prophet - clearly an unreai hypothesis, since the prophet was sent. And when man reasons to God's existence, he is obeying His command to read the signs. By the time of al-MLturidi, theologians were split between the Mu'tazilite position, which al-MPturidi also held, and the Ashcariteposition. Aw~i'il,pp. 11-12.

Ibid., p. 84. See infra, p. 216, with the emendation in the text suggested there. M. HORTEN, philosophischen probleme der spekulativen Theologie i Islam (Bonn: Die m Hanstein, 1910), p. 255, citing Ibn al-MurtadL, "al-Bahr al-zakhkhzr" (Ms. Berlin: Glaser 230, Ahlwardt 4894), fol. 35b. This book consists mostly of passages translated
1

from "al-Bahr al-zakhkhLr."

MORAL OBLIGATION AND THE ROLE OF REASON

that sound reasoning forces the mind along its way to knowledge, "some Baghdadis" hold that the mind is not forced to its conclusion, even though the thinker, once he has begun to reason, is thenceforth under moral obligation.1 These Baghdadis are closer to al-Mufid's position, but not in the respect he was claiming. Al-Mufid had claimed Baghdadi support for the necessity of revelation at the beginning of moral obligation, not for the conclusion of reasoning. A possible explanation is that al-Mufid may have had in mind an obscure Mu'tazilite of the Baghdad school named Abfi 1-Hasan Abmad b. 'A1i al-Shatawi, known as Bfiqa (d. 2971909-lo), who held that rational speculation gives certitude only when exercised upon affairs \ of this world. Speculation on God and things unseen, such as the posii sibility of punishment in hell, is uncertain, and therefore man is not under obligation to reason to the knowledge of Gode2This may have been the position of a group within the Baghdad school. At any rate, al-Mufid is quick to claim for his side any Mu'tazilites who deviate from the confident rationalism of the Basran school.

are known necessarily. Practical moral judgments are made by combining a necessarily known principle with acquired knowledge.' Reason, however, supported only by the necessarily known principles, does not know all the aspects and consequences of human acts. Left to itself, for example, reason would judge adultery to be good and prayer to be bad. 'Abd al-JabbZr then outlines the role of revelation. He says: What revelation tells us about the goodness or evil of these actions is nothing other than what our own reason would tell us if we but knew them thoroughly. For if we knew by reason that there is great benefit for us in prayer, and that it leads us to do our duty and thereby deserve reward, we would know by reason that it is obligatory. And if we knew that adultery leads to harm, we would know by reason that it is evil. Hence we say that revelation does not make anything bad or good. ... For it is only an indicator of the thing as it is, not that the thing becomes so because of the indicator. And so too, knowledge depends on the thing as it is; it does not become such by knowledge. And so also with true tradition. Therefore, saying that reason or revelation "makes" anything good or bad is true only in the sense that they indicate the fact of the thing's being good or bad. Thus in 'Abd al-Jabbir's view certain actions are good or bad quite independently of God's command. Revelation does not give acts their moral status. but rather shows that status. Hence too 'Abd al-Jabbar can say that God has the power to do evil but will not do it.3 At the extreme opposite of this position is the Ash'arite contention that, God being subject to no law, nothing God does can be evil.4 Actions are good or evil because God decides and declares them to be so.5
Al-Mughni, VI, Part 1,63-64. 'Abd al-Jabbir's expression of the idea contained in this last sentence is: "There is no species of evil that does not have a basis whose evil is known necessarily, so that it can be made a basis in what is known by acquisition." Ibid., pp. 64-65. Ibid., p. 127. "L-A~H'AR~,"KitPb al-luma'," in R. MCCARTHY, Theology o al-Ash'ari The f (Beirut: Imprimerie catholique, 1953), p. 71, No. 170. MCCARTHY, 241, quoting No. 19 of the creed of al-Ash'ari's, Maqdldt and p. NO.20 of his al-Ibrina. Lying is a special case. Al-Ash'ari says that if God were to declare lying to be good, it would be good ("al-Luma'," p. 71, No. 171), although God would still be unable to lie (ibid., p. 72, No. 172, and p. 74, No. 179).

6
i
P

So far the problem has been how moral obligation initially comes to be known. 'Abd al-Jabbir said it is known without the help of revelation, and al-Mufid said this knowledge comes only with the aid of revelation. But underlying the problem of its knowledge is the question of its basis : is moral obligation founded on the very nature of things. or on the arbitrary command of God? The Mu'tazilite answer is clearly on the side of the natural foundation of good and evil. According to 'Abd al-JabbZr, the basic moral principles (that injustice is evil, that a lie which serves no useful purpose and does not ward off harm is evil, that commanding someone to do evil is evil, and that commanding what is beyond man's ability is evil),
Maqdit, pp. 48 1 -82. On al-Shatawi, see VAN ESS, p. 332; IBN AL-MURTAPA, 93; AL-KHA* p. A L - B A G H D ~ ~ 308. Al-Shatawi's position found in the form of an objection to IV, , 'Abd al-Jabblr's doctrine in al-Mughni, XII, 362-64.
1
8

'

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

MORAL OBLIGATION AND THE ROLE OF REASON

\
\

Al-Mufid does not explicitly state his view of the basis of moral good and evil, but from what he implies it seems that he agrees fully with neither extreme. His statement that revelation is necessary at the first imposition of moral obligation in the individual and was so for the establishment of moral obligation in the world1 may possibly mean that no act is good or bad in itself, but it more probably means simply that reason is weak and needs the help of revelation to know the really good from the really bad. That the latter interpretation is the more likely can be gathered from scattered references to the subject. I n his commentary on Ibn Biibfiya's legal dictum that everything is good which is not explicitly forbidden, al-Mufid says that certain things, such as injustice, stupidity, and frivolity are known by reason to be reprehensible (literally "for, bidden," m a h t i i ~ )but in practice, since the coming of the revealed Law, reason has been superseded by the Law as the criterion of what is permitted and forbidden. Therefore whatever is not now specifically forbidden is permitted. And al-Mufid follows this conclusion very strictly, even outlawing the use of legal analogy ( q i y h ) to extend prohibitions beyond what is stated in the Law. Thus al-Mufid agrees with 'Abd al-Jabbiir's first step: that certain general moral principles are known independently of revelation. But the question remains whether, injustice being granted in the abstract to be evil, a particular act can be unjust of itself or becomes just or unjust only by the decision and command of God. In his 'yawiibiit Abi I-Laith al-Awiitli" the question is raised whether God has the power to make the good evil and the evil good. Al-Mufid answers that such an idea is absurd and can come only from a questioner who is ignorant of the true natures of things. But the point of the question was that certain laws have in fact been abrogated. Was bad changed to good and vice versa by abrogation or by the laying down of the first religious Law? Al-Mufid explains that God may declare an
See supra, p. 60. AL-MUF~D, sharh 'aqi'id al-SadZq, aw Ta~bib Kit6b 01-ictiq&d(hereafter referred to as Ta,sbib), p. 69.
1

act which in the past has been good to be bad 'n the future, and vice versa, because, with changed circumstances, wha was useful before may now be harmful. But this, he says, applies only to those acts for which there is no rational proof that they are good or evil. 1

Then, descending to specifics, al-Mufid says:

As for the prohibition of adultery and interest, we know of no


dispute that this has been so under every Law, and no prophet has ever brought permission for it. Its harmfulness is plain to anyone who has intelligence. Some might dispute whether in fact the mischief of adultery and taking interest are plain to reason alone. 'Abd al-JabbZr did dispute it, in the case of adultery. But this is not al-Mufid's essential point. His main argument is that adultery and taking interest have in fact been forbidden in every positive religious Law, and only in passing does he mention that their harmfulness is plain to the intelligent. Drinking wine, al-Mufid continues, has never been permitted. He supports this by appealing to traditions of the Imams and to the harmful results which both experience and the Quran testifjr that wine brings. As for the meat of the elephant, the ape, and the bear, they are forbidden because : We know of their prohibition in every Law. And we do not know enough to be able to speak about the state of intelligent people before the religious Laws came. Were we able [to know about such primitive societies], we would have to hesitate about prohibition and ~ermission,since reason does not prove it is good or bad.8 Clearly the state of a people without a revealed Law is an unreal condition for al-Mufid, and he does not try to imagine it so as to decide cases on the basis of reason alone.
AL-MUP~D, "Jawiibiit Abi 1-Laith al-Awgni," Q. 30. On the various titles of this work, see supra, p. 30, Q 42. Hereafter it will be referred to as ccal-'Ukbariyya."

Ibid. Ilid. On the prohibition of the meat of the elephant and the ape, see AL-KuLAIN?, al-FurZc min al-Kcfft,ed. 'Ali Akbar al-Ghaffiiri (Tehran: Diir al-kutub ala

islfimiyya, 1377-79 H.), VI, 246, No. 14. The bear would be included in a tradition on p. 245, No. 3, which forbids beasts of prey with fangs.

THE THEOLOGY OP AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

MORAL OBLIGATION AND THE ROLE OF REASON

On the other hand, al-Mufid states, as did 'Abd al-JabbHr, that God is able to do injustice but does not. He lists the determinists as adversaries to this position.* I n thus opposing the Ash'arite notion of an arbitrary supreme Lord who can do no wrong, al-Mufid implies that certain acts may be unjust in themselves, independently of God's decision and command. In conclusion, it does not seem that al-Mufid thought seriously about the basis of good and evil. Since God had in fact revealed the moral status of actions by commanding some and forbidding others through the words of His Prophet and Imams, speculation about the power of pure reason and the nature of things prior to the imposition of the Law seemed unreal to al-Mufid.

no effort on the subject's part and which the subject cannot doubt or deny, and knowledge that is acquired ('ilm muktasab), either by listening to revelation or by the subject's own reasoning. However, some of the things al-Mufid says about what the Basran Mu'tazilites held with regard to necessary knowledge are misleading. Al-Mufid says:

I say that knowledge of God is an acquisition, and so too is knowledge of His prophets and of everything unseen. And there can be no compulsion to know any of these things we have mentioned. This is the doctrine of many of the Imamites and of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites exclusively. Opposed to it are the Basran Mu'tazilites, the determinists, and the less intelligent (al-hmhwiyya) among the traditionists.
Later in the same book al-Mufid expands slightly on this position. He says:

The conclusions here can be summarized in the answers to three questions. What is man's first obligation? Al-Mufid says it is to know God; 'Abd al-JabbHr says it is to reason to the knowledge of God. How is this first duty known? Al-Mufid says man can know it only with the help of revelation; 'Abd al-JabbZr says this knowledge occurs naturally to a man's mind as the only way to deliver himself from fear. What is the basis of this duty? Is it the nature of things or is it God's command? 'Abd al-Jabbiir says it is based on the nature of things; alMufid does not say, but he seems to imply that certain acts which reason calls good or bad are so by nature and not because God has pronounced them so. However this question, important as it was to the Mu'tazilites, was not of much interest to al-Mufid. EXCURSUS : NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE. Most Mu'tazilites, and al-Mufid too, distinguished between necessary knowledge ('ilm darziri), which is established in the mind through Awd'il, p. 23. Al-Mufid also correctly names a l - N a q l m as a n opponent of this thesis. Al-Nazslm held that God cannot do anything other than what is best, for that would mean a deficiency in Him. See A L - ~ H ' A R ~ , p. 555. Maqdldt,

I say that knowledge of God, of His prophets, of the truth of the religion He approves, and of everything whose reality is neither perceived by the senses nor known innately ( l i yakanu I-macrifatu qZYimatan fil-bidiyati), but rather is attained by a kind of analogy bihi (qiy&), cannot be necessary. I t is had in all cases only by way of acquisition. And so too knowledge acquired by way of sensation cannot occur by analogy, nor can knowledge that was innate ever come by analogy. This has been said before, and we have added here an explanation for clarity. I t is the doctrine of a number of the Baghdadis. The Basran Mu'tazilites oppose it, as do the anthropomorphists, determinists, and Murji'ites.
Taken in its obvious meaning, al-Mufid's claim against the Basrans does not make sense, for they certainly held that a man must acquire knowledge of God by reasoning. Al-Mufid seems to be oversimplifj.ing. He most probably is referring to the next life, not this one, and here he would be influenced by AbE 1-QSsim al-Balkhi, who taught that man's knowledge of God, even in the next life, will be speculative. Al-Balkhi's
Awi'il, p. 27. Zbid., pp. 64-65.

T H E THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

MORAL OBLIOATION AND 'I'IIE ROLE 012 REASON

premise was that what is known speculatively can never be known necessarily and vice versa.l Hence since man knows God by reason in this life, that is the way man will know Him in the next. The Basrans held that in the Garden man will be provided by God with necessary (i.e., not acquired by man's effort) knowledge of Himself. The Basrans however held that man acquires his knowledge in this life by reason. Even al-JZFiq, who said man has necessary knowledge of God, meant something quite different by "necessary" : not knowledge that is put into man by God, but information that is found in the Quran and therefore must not be denied. A Basran argument against al-Balkhi was that man's knowledge of God in the Garden cannot be had by speculation because speculation involves mental labor, from which people, in the Garden should be free. Al-Balkhi's reply was that people there will painlessly remember the results of the reasoning they have done in their former life.3 In keeping with al-Balkhi's point of view, al-Mufid maintains that the people in the next life are "commanded in their minds to what is a p p r ~ p r i a t e " ,but this does not mean that the people in the Garden ~ are under moral obligation (taklif). The reason for the difference is that taklif means "imposition of what is burdensome to nature and whose Presumably this means that the people in doing entails diffic~lty."~ the Garden are commanded to recall the results of their speculation in this life, but, as al-Balkhi says, this is not burdensome to them. In a wider sense, however, al-Mufid's position differs from al-Balkhi's in that al-Mufid required the mind to be helped by revelation in its original speculation. As for the people in the Fire, al-Mufid says they are under torture, trouble, hardship, and pain that is incomparably more onerous than the burden of a moral obligation to do good and avoid evil would be. And
'ABDAL-JABBAR, Sharh, p. 57.
See VANESS, p. 141. Sharh, p. 58. Awd'il, p. 67.

,
"

hc says he is on the side of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites against the Basrans. 'Abd al-JabbZr too says that the people in the Garden are not under moral obligation, a for the same reason that al-Mufid gave. And he says that since the subject's freedom is an essential condition for the imposition of moral obligation, the People in the Fire are not under taklifeither. Al-Mufid's notion of taklif, therefore, is slightly different from 'Abd al-JabbHr's, in that the latter included the subject's freedom as a necessary condition. This does not mean that al-Mufid would in fact say God could put a person who was not free under moral obligation. Al-Mufid does not. The point is mentioned here not because the two theologians' notions of taklif are widely different in their practical applications, but because al-Mufid has made misleading statements about the Basran Mu'tazilites not only regarding necessary knowledge but also on the subject of taklif. These statements were due to the influence upon al-Mufid of one of al-Balkhi's theses.

4 6

Ibid.

Al-Mughni, XI, 297. Al-Muhi?, I, 1 1.

CHAPTER I11

MAN'S BEST INTERESTS AND GOD'S HELP

I t was seen in the last chapter that God puts men under moral obligation. Now the question is about God's purpose in imposing this obligation. From a determinist point of view, God's purpose in creating is to reward the friends of His own choosing and to punish the enemies of His choosing.l The Mu'tazilite answer was that God creates and governs creatures for their own good. God's activity, they said, must conform to justice and to His transcendence, and therefore He made men not for His own benefit, but for theirs. I n its primitive and strongest form this thesis was expressed i n Abfi l-Hudhail's dictum that God does only what is best (al-a~lah)for His creature^.^ Al-Mufid expresses full agreement with this thesis. He says:
t

I say that as long as His servants are under moral obligation,


God does for them only what is to their best interests in religion and in the affairs of this world. He deprives them of nothing that is advantageous or useful. Whomsoever He makes rich he is treating to his best advantage, and the same is true for the man He makes poor. So too for the man He gives health and the man He gives illness.3

Al-KhayyZt reduces the determinist view to this in al-Inti~dr,p. 24. AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, p. 249: "AbG I-Hudhail said: there is a sum and totality of the good and beneficial which God is able to do, and so too there is a totality to the other objects of His power. And there is nothing more beneficial than what He does.'' .J. SCHACHT, "New Sources for the History of Muhammadan Theology," Studia Islamica, I (1953), 29, suggests that the remote source of the Mu'tazilite concept of al-aslab was a Greek biological notion. a Awi'il, pp. 25-26.

Since the Mu'tazilite thesis was derived from theodicy, it was seen as a matter of obligation that God should act so. Imposing obligation upon God seemed all the more outrageous to the determinists. Al-Isfarzyini, after noting that Abii 1-@sim al-Balkhi held that God is obliged to act for the best interests of men, remarks, "Obligation upon God is absurd because of the impossibility of there being an obliger above Him to oblige Him to anything.'jl But the enemies of the Mu'tazilites also raised more telling objections, attacking the inner consistency of the doctrine of best interests. One such objection was the story of the Three Brothers. One of the brothers died in infancy. Of the two who grew up, one was an unbeliever and the other a believer. After their deaths the formerwas duly put in the Fire and the latter in the Garden, in a higher place there than his first brother who had died as an infant. That brother asked for a higher station equal to his grown-up brother. God, according to the partisans of the doctrine of best interests, replies that the third brother has earned his high station by his good works. "Why didn't You let me live so that I could do works like his?" asks the first brother. "It was in your best interests that I made you die an infant," God answers, "for had you grown up, you would have been an unbeliever." At this the me second brother cries from hell, "Then why didn't You ~nake die in infancy too, knowing that I would disbelieve if I grew up?"2 The question of the second brother's best interests, or the good of imposing moral obligation upon the person God foresees will not believe, presented an acute problem to Mu'tazilite optimism which the Baghdad and Basran schools met in different ways. The Basran solution was to modify essentially the doctrine of best interests and say that God need not put man under moral obligation in the first place, and if He does, His benevolent purpose is not to give man a reward, but to give him a chance to earn a reward. The Baghdad school had inother solution,

which kept the thesis of best interests but substituted the interests of the collectivity for those of the individual.1 Al-Mufid chose the solution of the Baghdad school. He says:

I say that when God knows such-and-such a man would not believe if He should create him and put him under moral obligation, and also that no other creature would be brought to belief either by the fact of His having created, kept alive, and imposed moral obligation upon that man, or because of something the man himself might do [using the alternate reading], and that no one would derive religious profit from it, then God cannot create him. And when God knows that if He keeps a certain person alive, that man will repent of his disobedience, He must not destroy him. God's justice, generosity, and nobility demand what we have just said. He cannot do the contrary, for purposelessness, miserliness, or need cannot be attributed to Him. This is the doctrine of the majority of the Imamites, all of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites, and many of the Murji'ites and Zaidis. The Basran Mu'tazilites oppose it, and the determinists agree with them in this.2
Among the reasons al-Mufid gives for God's obligation, justice is mentioned only in passing. The negative reiteration does not mention it. In keeping with the view of the Baghdad school which will be mentioned
1 Both views are set out by 'ABDAL-JABBAR, Sharh, p. 518: "The conclusion from all this is that the imposition of moral obligation on the unbeliever is as good as its imposition on the believer. There is no disagreement about this. The only dispute is about how it is good of God to impose moral obligation on one He knows will disbelieve. We say it is good simply because God has raised him to a level which can be reached only with moral responsibility: the level of opportunity for a reward. Our Shaikh AbG I-QPsim says it is good simply because it is for best interests [reading li-annahu for li-attahu], and by "best interests1' he means the most expedient, so that he says: 'It is good of God to impose moral obligation upon Zaid because He knows a number of people will come to believe at his being obliged, even though it is known that he himself will not believe. For an example to a multitude is useful.' "We say that is vicious. For morally obliging one for the utility of another is unjust, even thought that particular useful end can be attained only by that means. Otherwise there would be no injustice in the world, for there is no crime that does not benefit at least the wrongdoer and his family, which may be very numerous." AwE1il, p. 26. "Cannot" and "must not" predicated here of God translate h yqjik. The same doctrine is expressed ibid., p. 89, where al-PvIufid says everything God has created has a use, if only as an example for those under moral obligation.

,,
8,

AL-ISFARKYINI, al-Tabfirfi1-din, ed. M. al-Kawthari (Cairo: al-Khanji, 1955), p. 79. See AL-BAGHDKDI, Ujd p. 151.

al-din (Istanbul: DPr al-funGn al-turkiyyii, 1928),

below, al-Mufid emphasizes generosity and nobility as the basis of God's obligation. But his statement that God must preserve the life of a sinner He knows would repent if given more time carries its own difficulties and needs modification. Later al-Mufid says : Thesis on God's knowledge that an unbeliever would come to believe if He should keep him alive, or that a sinner would repent if He should keep him alive: can He make him die anyway? I say this is not fitting in the case of one who has not negated his repentance and relapsed into disbelief. I t is fitting after the respite in the case of one who has been granted one delay and then went back to disobedience. For if that [i.e., keep him alive for another chance] were forever obligatory, there would be a changefrom wisdom to bootlessness, and moral obligation would have no sanction. This is the doctrine of Abfi 1-Qssim al-Ka'bi and a great number of those who hold the thesis of best interests. Opposed to it are the Basran Mu'tazilites, those of them who deny [leaving out the final al$ of mini'ii] the doctrine of lutJ and all determinist^.^ Therefore according to this solution the sinner gets one chance of undetermined length to repent, and the unbeliever is given one respite in which to believe. After that, presumably the best interests of the collectivity - that there should be a final reckoning - outweigh the individual's own best interests. The Basran solution is to limit this doctine to the sphere of religion and deny that God must look after man's best interests in all respects. Commenting on the dictum of the Baghdadis that God is better at looking after the interests of men than they are for themselves, 'Abd al-JabbHr says : And it is known that He is better at looking after His servants than they are for themselves in what pertains to religion and moral obligation [leaving out the wa]. This restriction must be made because God punishes the disobedient, whereas if they were given a choice in the matter they would not choose punishment for themselves. So, this being the case, God is not better at looking after Ibid., p. 90.

their interests than they arc for themsclvcs. Thus Hc may prolong the life of a man evcn though He knows that, should He have him die then and there, he would deserve the Garden on account of his previous deeds, and if He keeps him alive he will apostatize, disbelieve, and render void all that he has previously merited. And obviously if the man were given the choice between longer life and early death, he would choose early death. So how is God in this case better at looking after His servants than they are for themselves? Therefore the restriction we have mentioned is necessary.' The restriction to the sphere of religion and moral obligation is narrower than it seems, for a man's final destiny would on the face of it seem to be a religious matter. The restriction is not made, 'Abd alJabbHr notes, by the Baghdad school, which holds that God looks after man's interests in both religious and secular affairs.2 The positive meaning that 'Abd al-JabbHr assigns to his restricted thesis appears in a passage in al-Mughni: Furthermore we have already explained that our use of this expression [i.e., al-qlah] has a meaning contrary to what they [i.e. the Baghdadis] claim. For we mean that when God morally imposes the doing of a certain act, nothing more advantageous than that can be chosen. So when such a thing is described as the most advantageous for him in the realm of duty, the reason is that nothing is superior to it and it is superior to everything else.3 As 'Abd al-Jabbgr explains the thesis of best interests, then, once God has commanded an act, it is to man's best interest to do that act, and there is no other action that would be more to his benefit, given the fact that God has commanded this one. The act may not be intrinsically the best that God could have commanded. Its superiority comes from God's command. Thus 'Abd al-Jabbsr has taken an old Muctazilite thesis, always full of difficulties, and explained it away. Al-Mufid, still concerned, in keeping with his preference for the ~ a g h d a dschool, to show that God acts for man's best advantage, Sharh, p. 133. Ibid., p. 134. For al-Mufid's own AZ-Mughni, XIII, 212.

expression of

this,

see

supra,

p. 71.

maintains that man's best interests demand that he be put undcr moral obligation and given the chance to earn a higher reward. On the question whether God could have simply created man in the Garden without any trial on earth, al-Mufid says: Thesis on the creation of creatures in the Garden.

I say it would not have been proper to create creatures in the Garden, in ease without moral obligation. For this would injure the man God knows would, if put under moral obligation, attain for his works a reward that is higher and more resplendent than mere gratuitous ease. And God is too noble to cut anyone off from a benefit or to limit him to a certain favor when there is another that is better and more to his advantage. That would be the deed of one who is ignorant, inept, jealous, or miserly. Far is God abovesuch qualities ! This is the doctrine of the majority of Imamites, since it has come down in traditions from the Imams. The Baghdad Mu'tazilites agree with it. The Basrans oppose the majority on this point, and the determinists and anthropomorphists are with them in this opposition.
'Abd al-JabbZr's Basran position, consistent with the thesis that God must act in man's best interests only in matters of religion, is that God was under no obligation to impose moral responsibility upon man i n the first place. 2 God could have created man in the Garden without ever putting him to the test.8

the right choice follows closely upon the problem of how God must act for man's best interests. The position of the Baghdad school was that, since God must act for man's best interests, He is simply obliged to give help to His creatures. The Basrans said that since God in the beginning was under no obligation to put man under taklif, He was not obliged to help man to choose the good. But now that God has in fact imposed His commands upon man, God is bound to help him to fulfill them.1 There is a difference also in the basis of God's obligation to give this help. In 'Abd al-JabbZrYs system, once God has made man morally responsible, justice demands that He help him. Al-Mufid and the Baghdadis deny that God's obligation comes from justice. Al-Mufid says:

I say that the help which the proponents of the doctrine of 1utJ make incumbent upon God is so from His generosity and nobility. I t is not - as they think -justice that obliges Him, so that He would be unjust were He not to give it.
I

'Abd al-JabbZr and the other Basrans are the opponents of this thesis. Their position enables the Basrans to say that God was obliged in strict justice to send a prophet with a revealed Law. 'Abd al-JabbPr says: The connection of this with the general heading of Justice is that God knows our welfare ( ~ a l i h ) connected with certain legal is prescriptions. Then He must make them known to us or He would be derelict in His duty. And it belongs to justice not to be derelict in one's duty.S This difference between the Baghdadis and the Basrans on the source of God's obligation appears again in the problem of the sinner's Zbid., p. 7: "As for the difference between us and those holding the obligation to best interests in the matter of Zutf, it comes down to the reason for the doctrine, not the doctrine itself. For they make the reason for [God's] obligation to give help to be that it is more beneficial. And for the same reason they make imposition of commands and creation itself obligatory. In our opinion, the reason for its being necessary is that it is a help to man in fulfilling that to which he is morally obliged. Therefore we restrict [God's] obligation to [give] it to after He has imposed His command and the like."

wf
I:

God's help (lug) anything that moves a man to choose obedience is or makes it easier for him to choose s0.4 Since at least some lutf comes directly from God,5 the problem of the help God gives a man to make

Awri'il, p. 27. Al-Mughni, XIV, 115. 3 Zbid., p. 137. Cf. AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, pp. 248-49, which shows that 'Abd

al-Jabb5r is following Abii 'Ali al-Jubbl'i in this. 4 Al-Mughni, XIII, 9. For the definitions by 'ABD AL-JABBAR, Sharb, pp. 64, see 519, 779. They all give the same meaning. 6 AZ-Mughni, XIII, 27.

repentance. According to the Baghdad school, the sinner's repentance does not directly cancel out the punishment he deserves, but rather God by His favor does away with the punishment on the occasion of ('ind) the sinner's repentance. The Basrans say that the repentance itself does away with the punishment, arguing that if it were only by favor that God refrains from punishing the repentant sinner, then were God to choose to withhold the favor, His punishment of the sinner would be a good act.l 'Abd al-JabbZr's notion of "good" here means "'just." Simply saying that God would be ungenerous not to forgive the penitent would not be enough for 'Abd al-Jabb5r. Al-Mufid stands with the Baghdad school as usual, but on this point he does not say so. Rather he claims to be against all the Mu'tazilites. He says:

The Imamites agree that acceptance of repentance is by God's favor. The remission of previously deserved punishment is not rationally necessary. Did not revelation say that it is remitted, it would be rationally possible for the penitent to remain in the condition he has deserved. The traditionists agree with them on that. The Muctazilites agree in holding the opposite, claiming that repentance necessarily remits previously deserved punishment. The dispute between the Baghdadis and the Basrans on the source of God's obligation shows an important difference in their views of God's relation to man. Although their practical conclusions may be much the same, their reasons are different. The Basran view of God as bound by justice to help man once He has freely chosen to impose moral obligation on him sees a quasi-contractual relationship between God and man. This view follows from the early Mu'tazilite preoccupation with showing, against the determinists, that God is just and His actions are governed by justice, not by His arbitrary sovereign will. The determinist notion had arisen from an exclusive emphasis on God's sovereign power. The Baghdad Mu'tazilite notion of God's relationship to man, while including justice, retained more of the determinists' religious awe at His sovereignty. God and men are not viewed
1

with quite the equality which a relationship of justice connotes. In the Baghdadi view, God acts justly towards men. But the reason He acts so is not that He is obliged in justice, but that He is impelled to act so by His own nobility and generosity. Noblesse oblige. Hence too, in the Baghdadi view, God is obliged to look after man's best interests from the moment He first creates him, while the Basrans say His obligation begins only from the time He decides to impose commands. But these late positions of the Baghdad and Basran schools were the result of an evolution. I t is easy to see the Basran thesis of God's obligation in justice arising i n reaction to determinism. The simple optimism of AbE l-Hudhail's thesis had to be modified by his successors under the abrasion of the determinists' dialectic, such as the problem of the Three Brothers. On the other hand, the founder of the Baghdad school, Bishr b. al-Mu'tamir, did not hold the thesis of best interests. Beginning instead from an exalted view of God's power, he proposed the doctrine of God's irresistible lutf.

Bishr's notion of irresistible help enhances God's power over man's freedom. According to Bishr, God is able to give any man in the world an impulse that he will not resist. If the man is an infidel, God can induce him to believe; if he is a sinner, God can induce him to repent. The process would be such that the man acting under its influence would deserve the same reward as the one who performed the same deed without this irresistible help. Obviously God does not always give such help, even though it would be most advantageous for a man to receive it. I t follows, then, that God is not obliged to act in man's best interests.1 Bishr's successor in the Baghdad school, Ja'far b. Harb, said rather that God is both able to give irresistible help and obliged to act for man's best interests. These two theses are reconciled by saying that were a man to act under the influence of God's irresistible help, he would not deserve the same reward as the man who acts without it. Hence it is not in the
AL-ASH'AR~, Maqthit, p. 246. 'Abd al-Jabblr argues against this in al-Mugkni,

Ibid., p. 790. Awd'il, p. 15.

X I , 200 ff. II

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

man's best interests to be given such help.1 Thus Ja'far reconciled the thesis of irresistible help with that of man's best interests by depriving the former of its usefulness. After Ja'far the Baghdad school adhered to the doctine of best interests even more strongly than the Basrans. Al-Mufid has been seen to hold, with the later Baghdadis and against the Basrans, that God looks after the best interests of men in both religious and secular affairs. a Al-Mufid's notion of the power of God's help is also very far from Bishr's idea of irresistible lutf. The most reliable of God's aids for following the truth, al-Mufid says, is "the establishing of an argument or the explanation of a proof according to the saying of the truthful one."3 And al-Mufid says that here he is opposing the determinists who say tha! God's help (nap-) is the strength of the man whom God helps and that God's abandonment (khidhlcn) is the capability of the sinner when left to himself. I n emphasizing the intellectual, al-Mufid brings God's help out of the sphere of the will. Al-Mufid's notion presumes man's freedom and ability to act in accordance with an intellectually cogent argument or proof.

A particular case of help given by God to some men is 'i;ma, or protection from sin. I t also means protection from error, but this will be considered 1ater.l The aspect to be noticed in this section is exclusively that of the subject's freedom, and it will be seen that al-Mufid's position is no different from 'Abd al-JabbHr's on this point. 'Abd al-Jabb5r defines 'i;ma as a help (lutf) because of which a person under moral obligation abstains from doing evil2 Just as a lutf inciting a man to do good is, if accepted, called tawfiq, so a l u t j keeping a man from evil is, if accepted, called 'i;me, or protection. 'Abd alJabbHr distinguishes between abstention (imtin8') from sin, which a man does with ?;ma, and prevention (man'). The latter would take away the subject's ability to do otherwise, which is an essential property for one who is under moral ~ b l i g a t i o n . ~ I n his commentary on I b n Bfibtiya's creed, al-Mufid is careful to point out that 'i;ma is a prompting (tawfiq) and a help (lug) which comes by God's favor to those H e knows will hold fast to His protection. I t is an act of the one who is protected, and it neither abolishes the subject's ability to do wrong nor forces him to do good. God could not give this help to all men, for it would not be accepted by all. Rather it is fit only for the pure and Elsewhere al-Mufid elaborates on his idea that 'i;ma is the act of the person protected, comparing it to a rope thrown to a drowning man. I t is u p to the man to cling to the rope, or the rope will do him no good.5 Thus al-Mufid is in full agreement with 'Abd al-JabbHr that the person under protection still is able to reject this help and do wrong. Al-Mufid shows himself to be far from the early Baghdad thesis that God can give such an effective help that no man can refuse. His Infra, pp. 99-101. Al-Mughni, XIII, 15. Ibid., p. 17. Tahih, pp. 6 1-62. Awd'il, p. 111, referring to Quran, 3 :103

AL-~SH'AR~, Maqdldt, p. 246. Supra, p. 71. a Awd'il, p. 94. flujja in this text has been translated as "argument." Another

common use of the word with al-Mufid and the Imamites in general is to make it stand for the persons of the prophets and Imams. They are God's "arguments" or "proofs," making God and His will evident and accessible to mankind. On this meaning of the word, see M. Hodgson, "I;Iudjdja," EL2, 111, 544. That bujja in the text quoted here means simply "argument" is clear from alMufid's claim (Awd'il, p. 95) to be in agreement with the Mu'tazilites. However "the truthful one" (al-mubiqq) in the text means a prophet or Imam. 4 Ibid., p. 95. However al-Mufid does mention here another kind of nay: divine encouragement in battle. He says: "The second kind is comfort of the souls of the believers in war and in the encounter with their adversaries, sending steadixess down upon them, but to their enemies discouragement, putting terror into their hearts, and pressing their souls to fear and alarm. I t also includes support by angels and other helpers which H e sends to favor them and bring about their success. This accords with rationally compelling proof; and the written Book proves it too." The idea here is quranic, and its point is God's influence on the outcome of battle rather than a determination of individual moral decision.

a a

disagreement with the Mu'tazilites on the subjects of %!ma and its extent will be taken up in the next chapter, where 'ifma will be considered as one of the privileges of the prophet. CONCLUSION.
uf Bishr's notion of l! as help given gratuitously by God's choice and the later Baghdad Mu'tazilites' notion of u as proceeding necesl! f sarily from God's generosity are closer to the radical meaning of the word (kindness) than is the Basran idea of luyas help which God often owes in justice. At issue in this chapter have been two Mu'tazilite views of h God and His relationship i creatures. The Baghdad view, emphasizing His favor, retains more of a religious sense of awe at God's transcendent, sovereignty, while the Basran notion of God, emphasizing justice, is the more rationalist. Basrans were primarily concerned with man's freedom and God's justice, while the Baghdadis, without denying man's freedom, were more concerned with God's power. Al-Mufid shows himself in agreement with the Baghdad school in / I his doctrine of man's welfare and God's help.
CHAPTER IV

PROPHECY

The necessity of the prophetic mission, according to al-Mufid, is absolute, since man needs revelation to help him know God and the primary moral princip1es.l According to 'Abd al-Jabbiir, God is bound in justice to send a prophet with a revealed Law now that He has in fact decided to impose moral obligation upon man. a The aim of this chapter is to examine the notion of prophecy, the prophet's credential of miracle, especially Muhammad's prime miracle which was the Quran; and the prophet's privileges, especially the prophet's protection from sin and error.

The Quran says that an apostle (rmu'l)is sent to each people (umma). However, the individuals who are given the title of apostle (Muhammad, Nfih, Lat, Ismii'il, MiisH, Shu'aib, Hiid, Siilih, and 'IsH) are also called prophet (nabi), as are many others. Al-Mufid notes this too. He says: The Imamites agree that every apostle is a prophet but not every prophet is an apostle. Some of God's prophets were guardians of the apostles' Laws and were their successors in their office. I n fact only the Law, not reason, forbids us to call our Imams prophets, since they fulfilled the function we have mentioned as belonging to the prophets. And the Imamites agree that an apostle may be sent Ibid., pp. 11-12; supra, p. 60. Sharh, p. 563; supra, p. 77. Quran, 10:47, 16:36; see also J. WENSINCK, "Rasiil", Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed. H. Gibb and J. Kramers (Leiden: Brill, 1961),p. 469.
a

1'IIE

1'13P,01AOOY OF

AL-SIIAIKII A ~ . - M U P ~ D

PROPHECY

to renew the Law of his predcccssor, not to institute a Law liimself, and to confirm the prophecy of one who went before, cven though he lays down no new obligation. All the Mu'tazila agree in contradicting both these theses. With the Imamites in holding them are a number of the Murji'ites and all the traditionists. l Al-Mufid has asserted a distinction in titles, based on the usage of the Quran, but he has then denied a difference in function. That is, he says it is not that an apostle brings a Law and the prophet guards itea Denying any functional distinction enables him to put the Imams on a level with the prophets named in the Quran and also with the others who were called apostles, in every respect but in name. I n the next chapter it will be seen that al-Mufid in fact inclines to the opinion that the Imams are superior to all the prophets and apostles except Muhammad.3 The main subject of this chapter is Muhammad, rather than the ~rophets general. in 'Abd al-Jabbir says there is no difference between prophet and apostle, and that the words are used synonymously in the Quran.' He would of course also disagree with al-Mufid's remark about the status of the Imams.

Know that the miracle-worker (al-mu'jiz) is he who renders another incapabl-e (yu'jiz al-ghair), just as the enabler (al-muqdir) is the one who enables another, in common language. As for its [i.e., of the mu'jiza as "miracle"] technical meaning, it is an act which leads to belief in the one claiming to be a prophet. Its relation to common language is that [other] men are incapable of producing anything like it, and so it is as if he had rendered them incapable. l The first condition is that the deed be either generically beyond the power of any finite being, such as raising the dead, or generically within it but surpassing it in degree -as for example the eloquence of the Quran. The second condition is that the miracle follow immediately upon a claim to prophethood. The third condition is that the event take place as the claimant said it would, and the fourth is that it violate the ordinary course of events. 3 Al-Mufid does not have a theoretical discussion of miracle in any of his extant writings. One miracle of a prophet which he mentions is that of 'Is5 when he spoke in the cradle. In his infancy, says al-Mufid, 'ISZ attained maturity of intellect, was morally responsible, and the office of prophecy was conferred on him.6 The significance for Imamites of 'Isfi's speech in the cradle was that it afforded an argument for the succession of the Imam Muhammad al-JawZd, who was only seven years old when his father, the Imam 'Ali al-Rid9 died. The supporters of Muhammad's succession argued from the precedent of 'IsZ's prophecy to the possibility that a young boy could be Imam.6 Al-Mufid does not give a list of the miracles ascribed by accepted tradition to the Prophet, as 'Abd al-Jabbir does.' On one point,
Sharh, p. 568. Ibid., p. 569. a Ibid., pp. 570-71. But see supra, p. 33,s 78, for the title of one of his lost works, al-Zdhirfil-mu'jizdt. Awd'il, p. 105, referring to Quran, 19:30. See AL-YASAN MOSA AL-NAWBAKHT~, Jiraq al-shi'a, ed. H. Ritter, B. Kitrib ("Bibliotheca islamica," Vol. IV; Leipzig :Brockhaus, 193 I), p. 76; and also AL-MUF~D, al-Fwtil, pp. 256-57. Sharh, pp. 295-97; 'ABD AL-JABBAR, Tathbit daM'il al-nubuwcua, ed. 'Abd
1

The true prophet identifies himself by working miracles (mu'jizZt). 'Abd al-Jabbir explains the meaning and four conditions of a true miracle :
1 Awci'il, p. 12. ImImi tradition distinguishes apostle, prophets, and Imam by the mode in which God's revelation is communicated to them. The apostle, besides seeing visions in dreams, sees the angel when he is awake and converses with him. The prophet has visions in dreams and hears speech, but he does not see the angel; I, 186-87. the Imam only hears speech. See AL-KULAIN~, 2 This distinction is found in AL-FACB~, "Min al-as'ila 1-llrni'a wal-ajwiba 1-jzmi'a," in Al-Fdrdbi's Book o Religion and Related Texts, ed. M. Mahdi (Beirut: DIr f al-Mashreq, 1967), p. 97. a Awd'il, p. 42 ; quoted infra, p. 106. 4 Sharb, pp. 567-68; al-Mughni, XV, 9-17.

.xHE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH A L - M U P ~ D

PROPHECY

however, al-Mufid would disagree with 'Abd al-Jabbiir. Together with the Baghdadis, al-Mufid denies that God can act directly upon bodies against mechanical 1aws.l Thus presumably he would deny the possibility of one miracle on 'Abd al-JabbZr's list: the Prophet's summoning a tree to himself and then letting it return to its place.2

for its composition and order, men could equal it did not God prevent them by producing inability in them.1 'Abd al-JabbZr sides with the mass of the Mu'tazila against alNazziim's opinion. Without naming the adversaries, 'Abd al-JabbZr lists the various theories: Learned men have differed on the probative aspect of the Quran. Some make it a miracle on account of its special and uncommon degree of eloquence. This is the view we take, and we have explained the doctrine of our shaikhs on it. Others hold that because of its special order, quite different from what is known among them, it is a miracle. Others make it a miracle because men's attention is turned away from rivaling it, even though they have the ability to do so. Others make it a miracle because of the truth of its ideas, their lasting character upon examination, and their agreement with rea~on.~
'

Both al-Mufid and 'Abd al-JabbZr agree that the Quran is the Prophet's miracle par excellence. The miraculous aspect is that in spite of Muhammad's challenge, the Arabs were unable to produce anything to match its eloquence. Most theologians agreed on t h k 8 But there was a difference of opinion as to the reason for the Arabs' inability to match it. Was it because of the Quran's own incomparable eloquence, or was it because God prevented the Arabs then and thereafter from using their talents to rival the Quran, even though, left to themselves, they could equal i t ? This dispute was an old one among the Mu'tazilites. Al-Ashcari describes it: The Muctazila, except al-NazzZm, HishHm al-Fuwati, and 'Abbiid b. SulaimZn, said the composition and ordering of the Quran is a miracle which is as impossible to them [i.e., all others] as is the raising of the dead. I t is a sign of the Apostle of God.4 This is to say that the Quran's own eloquence far surpasses anything human effort could produce. Another theory is that of al-Na~zZm. Al-Ashcari continues : And al-Nazziim said: the sign-value and wonderful aspect of the Quran is the information about the unseen that it contains. As
al-Karim 'UthmHn (Beirut: D l r al-'arabiyya, 1966), I, 5-91, gives an extended treatment o f Muhammad's miracles. 1 Awd'il, p. 108. O n this see infra, pp. 2 11-15. Sharh, p. 596. 8 However ' A b b i d b . Sulaimln and HishHm al-Fuwafi denied that the Quran was a proof either o f God or o f Muhammad's prophetic office.See AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, pp. 25-26. Waqdlcit, p. 225.

The third of these opinions corresponds to that later attributed to al-NazzZm. J. Bouman points out that in the accounts by al-Ash'ari, al-KhayyZt, and al-BaghdZdi, al-Naz~iimdid not say divine prevention (;a@, as the theory was later called) of imitations was a miracle. AlNazzZm used the theory only to answer the question why, the style of the Quran being imitable, there were in fact no successful imitations. I t was al-BZqillZni, he says, who, arguing against al-Nazziim's theory of prevention, made it out to be an alleged miracle. And al-ShahrastZni followed al-BHqillZni in t h k 3 At any rate, al-Mufid also attributes the theory of miraculous divine prevention to al-Nazziim and says: The aspect of miracle in the Quran.
Ibid. Al-Mughni, X V I , 318; for 'ABD AL-JABBAR'S position see also Sharb, pp. 586-94 and 'ABD AL-JABBAR,Tanzih al-Qur'cin 'an al-matcirin (Cairo : al-JHmi'a, 1329 H.), pp. 428-31. J . BOUMAN, Conzit autour du Coran el la sohition d'al-Bciqillfni (Amsterdam: Le V a n Campen, 1959), p. 23.

h,

PROPHECY

I say that it co~lsistsin God's preventing the masters of language


and eloquence from opposing the Prophet with its equal in order, upon his challenging them to do so. And he made their failure to produce its like, even though it was in their power, a proof of his prophetic mission. And God's favor in preventing this will last until the end of time. This is a most clear proof and wonderful evidence. I t is the doctrine of al-NazzHm. The mass of the Mu'tazila oppose its1 However, in "al-MasHYilal-'ukbariyya" al-Mufid faces the problem from a different direction and there adopts the view that men are unable to imitate the Quran because of its intrinsic excellence. The objection is raised that God, in saying, "Produce ten invented suras like i t Y H 2 is commanding the Arabs to do what is beyond their ability. From this point of view, to say that God directly prevented the Arabs from obeying a command which they had the natural ability to carry out would be laying God open to the charge of injustice. I n his response al-Mufid abandons al-Na@im's doctrine and argues that the Quran's own eloquence surpasses human ability. He also distinguishes between a challenge and a command. He says: By saying, "Produce ten suras like i t of your cwn invention," God means: "If the Quran were speech of man's invention, it would be within the power of another man. So try, and if you are unable to fashion its like, you will see the absurdity of your claim against Muhammad that he is the author of the Quran." Whoever does not understand the difference between a challenge, rebuke, and declaration ofinability (ta'jiz) on the one hand, and a command, imposition, and obligation on the other, is to be numbered among the beasts.3 Al-Mufid goes on to compare this challenge to the answer an accomplished scribe would give to a n upstart who claims to be as good a scribe as he, or the answer a poet would give to anyone claiming to be as good a poet as he.
1
2

Thus al-Mufid helcl different and incompatible doctrines about the inimitability of the Q ~ ~ r i!l ntwo of his works. Al-Mufid was not alone a i n this. 'Ali b. 'PSH al-RummHni, his older contemporary and probable teacher, had maintained in one and the same book that the Quran was miraculous both by reason of its intrinsic eloquence and because others were prevented from imitating it.l

I n keeping with his intention of denying the eternity of the Quran, al-Mufid defines speech in such a way as to make its genus physical vocal sound, thereby establishing its character as an accident. H e says:

I say speech is the articulation and ordering of vocal sounds so as to convey intelligible meanings. And I hold that vocal sound are a kind of accident. And speech has no permanence, for the reason that this is impossible to any accident. Another reason is that if speech were to perdure, the arrangement whereby the front part of a word comes first and the back part last would be no more likely than any other arrangement. And that would lead to the breakdown of speech and do away with its intelligibility. , This is the doctrine of a number of the Mu'tazila. Some of them oppose it, as do all the anthropomorphi~ts.~
'Abd al-JabbHr also puts speech in the genus of vocal sound3 and argues from the premise that accidents do not have permanence to the conclusion that speech, being a n accident, cannot be eternal.* This definition of speech as a species of vocal sound is in strongest contrast to the definition given by the Ash'arite theologians, who made the essence of speech to be its subsistence in the soul. Al-Juwaini, for example, defines it as "the saying subsisting in the soul; and if we desire
' A L ~ 'ISAAL-RUMMAN~, B. "a]-Nukat fT i'jlz a]-qur'911," in Thalrith rasri'ilfi i'jliz al-qltr'cin, ed. M. Khalaf Alllh (2nd ed.; Cairo: DSr al-ma'lrif, 1968), p. 75. Awri'il, p. 106. The fourth sentence of this translation is made at the cost of switching the positions of bil-ta'alilrkt~urand bil-taqaddum from where they are in the
text.

Awd'il, p. 31. Quran, 1 1 :13. "Al-'Ukbariyya," Q. 34.

Al-Mughi, VII, 6. Ibid., p. 84.

PROPHECY

more detail, it is the saying subsisting in the soul which expressions indicate and for which conventional signs are agreed upon."l Verbal expressions, says al-Juwaini, are also properly called speech, although, he notes, some of his colleagues say that the only proper sense of the word is the inner speech -verbal expressions being speech only in a transferred sense.2 If speech is defined in the way al-Juwaini and his associates define it, then God's speech need not be temporal. I n accordance with his definition of speech, al-Mufid will not call the Quran uncreated. But neither will he use the Mu'tazilite term, "created." Instead he follows the Imamite doctrine3 and calls it "produced in time" (mzlhdath). He says:

I reply: the matter is the contrary of what you said. For calling it uncreated opens one to the suspicion that he is thereby asserting it to be eternal with God, withdrawing from the doctrine of Unity into dualism. So in order to dispel this suspicion it must be called created, as well as produced in time. l
Evidently then, to 'Abd al-JabbZrYs thinking, it is not enough to say the Quran is produced in time and refuse to say it is created. For those who hold that the Quran is eternal, the problem arises of the relation of what is recited in the pulpits to God's eternal speech. In what sense is the community right in saying that the listeners hear the word of God? The same problem exists, although not nearly so acutely, for those who say that God's speech is not eternal. Al-Mufid's solution is to distinguish mentally the recitation (al-hikiya) from what is recited (al-mahki), while admitting that common parlance does not distinguish them. He says:

I say the Quran is God's speech and inspiration, and it is produced in time, as God Himself has described it. And I refuse to say unreservedly that it is created. Traditions have been handed down to this effect from the Truthful Ones - on them be peace! All the Imamites except a few eccentrics hold this. And it is the thesis of the majority of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites and many of the Murji'ites, Zaidis, and traditionistsn4
Besides the authority of traditions from the Imams, al-Mufid's argument rests on the expression of the Quran itself. He must be referring to the passages where God says He sends down an admonition (dhikr muhdath).S "Created" (makhlfiq), on the other hand, is not used anywhere in the quranic text to describe anything that could be construed as referring to the Quran. 'Abd al-JabbZr does not say that any Baghdad Muctazilites held the Quran to be produced-in-time instead of created, as al-Mufid claimed. Bringing up the objection that unreservedly to call the Quran created opens one to the suspicion of unbelief, 'Abd al-JabbZr retorts:
1

I say that the recitation of the Quran may have the name
"Quran" applied to it, even though it is evidently different in meaning from what is recited. And thus the recitation of all speech is simply called by its name, so that it is said of one who recites a poet's poem: "So-and-so is reciting the poet's poem," and, "We hear from So-and-so the poem of Zuhair." And it is said of one who obeys an ordinance of the Apostle of God and acts according to it: "So-and-so is practicing the religion of the Apostle of God." They say this simply and without qualification, although its meaning is really like what we have said of recitation. This is the doctrine of the majority of the Mu'tazila. The partisans of fate and determinism oppose it. 'Abd al-JabbPr says there were various Mu'tazilite solutions to this problem. According to Abii 'Ali al-JubbZ'i, the recitation is the same as the recited. God's speech is heard in a recitation of the Quran. Speech has permanence and can exist in many places. Abii 'Ali's reason for saying this is that if the listeners were hearing the reciter's speech, that would mean the reciter was capable of producing something like the Quran,
Al-Mughni, VII, 2 18. Awd'il, pp. 100-01.

(Cairo:
a
8

AL-Juw~mi, Kitdb al-irshid, ed. M. Yiisuf Miisl and 'Ali 'Abd al-Hamid al-Khiinji, 1950), p. 104. Ibid., p. 108. See infra, pp. 353-55. Awd'il, pp. 18-19. Quran, 2 1 :2, 26:5.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH

AL-MUP~D information about carth, news of what was and news of what is. God has said: "In it is the cxplani~tionof cvcrytl~ing,~'l And another tradition has Ja'far say: "With us is knowledge of the Book, all of it." These traditions can be taken to mean either that only the Imams know the full text of the Quran, or that they alone know the inner meaning of the text, itself complete, that is in the hands of the faithful. The early Imamite commentator on the Quran, Abii I-Hasan 'Ali b. IbrZhim al-Qummi, alleges a number of instances where the letter of the true text, which was in favor of the Imams, has been distorted by slight alterations. For example, the words in the official text, "You are the best community (khaira ummatin) that has been raised up for mankind,"a were originally, "You are the best Imams (khair a'imma) raised up for mankind."4 And the words, "We have made you a nation (ummatan) in a middle p ~ s i t i o n , " were originally, "We have made you ~ Imams (a'immatan) in a middle position." There was also a traditional belief, not entirely restricted to Shi'ites, that 'Ali had made the first recension of the Quran. Ibn al-Nadim recounts this and also claims to have seen the autograph. He relates a tradition about 'Ali that: He saw agitation among the people at the death of the Prophet, and so he swore that he would not put his cloak upon his back until he had collected the Quran. So he sat i n his house for three days until he had collected the Quran. I t is the first recension, the Quran being put together from what he knew by heart. Ibid., p. 229, No. 4, paraphrasing Quran, 16:89. Ibid., No. 5. * Quran, 3:llO. h a L-BASAN 8. IBRAH~M 'AL~ AL-Qmi,Tafsir al-Qummi, ed. Tayyib aIMfisawi al-Jaza'iri (Najaf: al-HudZ, 1386 H.), I, 10; see also a number of other exampIes on pp. 10-11. Quran, 2:I43. AL-QUMM~, For aIleged omissions, see T NOLDEKE, I, 63. . Geschichfe des Qurans, rev. by F. SchwalIy (2nd ed. ; Leipzig: Dietrich, 1909-19), 1 , 97-1 12 ; I. GOLDZIHER, 1 Die Richtungen der islamischen Kmanauslegung (Veriiffentlichungen der 'De GoejeStiftungay" VI; Leiden: Brill, reprint, 1952), pp. 279-86; I. GOLDZIHER, No. Muhammedanische Studien (Halle: Niemeyer 1888-go), 11, 110-11.
a

which would detract from its miraculous uniquene~s.~ Abii Hiishim held that in the recitation God's speech is produced by God and the reciter's own speech is produced by the reciter. g 'Abd al-JabbEr's own solution is the same as al-Mufid's: that the listener is hearing God's speech in the sense that God made and produced it, and common usage applies this to what comes by way of r e ~ i t a t i o n . ~

An exclusively Shi'ite problem was what attitude to take towards the official text of the Quran which had been put in its final form under the Caliph 'UthmHn. Al-KhayyHf says the REfidites held that "the Quran has been changed and altered; there are additions, omissions, The Nawbakhtis were reported to have held that and distortions in i t s n 4 there were additions and omissions in the official texte6 Al-Kulaini relates several traditions on this matter. One from the Imam Muhammad al-BHqir speaks of 'Ali's text of the Quran: None of the people but a liar claims to have collected the whole Quran as it was sent down. Only 'Ali b. Abi T d i b has collected and preserved it as it was sent down.6 Another tradition from al-BHqir reserves to the Imams knowledge of the complete Quran: "No one can claim to have the complete Quran, all of it, its outside as well as its inside, except the Heirs.? A tradition from the Imam Ja'far says: By God, I know God's Book from first to last as though it were in the palm of my hand. In it is information about heaven and
1 Al-Mughni, VII, 187-88. However for a different account of Abii 'Ali's view, A L - ~ H ' A R ~ , p. 599, who says that he held God's speech is not recited, Magilit, but it can be read, memorized, and written. 2 Al-Mughni, VII, 189. 8 Ibid., p. 190. 4 AL-KHAYYAT, p. 6. 6 Awi' L, p. 56. i 6 AL-KULAIN~, I, 228, NO. 1. 7 Ibid., No. 2.

see

TIIE THEOLOGY OF

AL-SIIAIKkI

AL-MUF~D

PROPHECY

The text was in the hands of the family of Jq'far. And I myself have seen it, in our own time, in the possession' of Abii Ya'lH Hamza al-Hasani - may God have mercy on him - a text with pages missing, in the handwriting of 'Ali b. Abi THlib. I t had passed in the course of time as an heirloom to the Bani Hasan. This is the order of the suras in that text ....l Here the text of al-Fihrist breaks off, and no order of suras is given. Al-M&d took up the problem of 'Uthmin's official text in three of his works : "al-MasH'il al-sarawiyya," 'cal-MasH'il al-'ukbariyya," and Awd'il al-maqdldt. Four questions are at issue. First, has the correct order of the original text been changed ? Second, has some of the original text been omitted? Third, has something been added? Fourth, what should be the faithful Shi'ite's attitude to the official text of the Quran as it exists today? I n all three of al-Mufid's treatises, the answers to the first and third questions are the same: the Quran's original order has been changed, but no additions have been made to the text. On the second question, "al-MasH'il al-'ukbariyya" is silent. But "al-MasH'il al-sarawiyyaJ' says that there have been omissions, while the AwiJilal-maqdldt takes the view that what is missing is not part of the text itself, but the authentic interpretation that should come with the text. Because of its answer to the second question, the Awd'il does not need to ask the fourth question. Which of the treatises is later? From al-Mufid's remark in the Awd'il that he has supported one side in discussions with the Mu'tazila but now leans toward the other, it seems that the Awi'il presents his later and probably final position. The clearest way to present this is to give the full passages of "alMasHYilal-sarawiyya" and the Awh'il al-maqhldt, inserting numbers for the four questions just named. I n answer to the ninth question in "al-MasH'il al-sarawiyya," al-Mufid says :

remainder of what God sent down is in the hands of the one put i n charge of the Law for making judgments [i.e., the Imam of the age]. Nothing has fallen out [i.e., has been lost]. (2) And he who has collected what is [now] between the covers did not include i t in his redaction. The reasons that motivated him to that were: his lack of understanding of some of it, his doubt and lack of certitude about it, and also what he intentionally excized from it. (1) The Commander of the Faithful had collected the revealed Quran from first to last, and he put it together as i t ought to be, putting the Meccan [suras] before the Medinan and the abrogated before the abrogating, and putting everything in its place. Hence our Master al-SHdiq has said: "By God, if the Quran were read the way it was revealed, you would find us named in it just as our predecessor [i.e., Muhammad] is named." And he said: "The Quran was revealed in four quarters: one quarter about us, one about our enemies, a quarter of stories and examples, and a quarter ofprescriptions and statutes. And the best parts of the Quran belong to the People of the House."l Al-Mufd is saying here that the present official recension is not in correct order and does not contain all that God sent down; but, since there have been no forged additions, all of it is the word of God. The full and correctly ordered Quran was and is known only to the Imams. The tradition that 'Ali made a redaction of the Quran which was never published is mentioned again by al-Mufid in "al-Masf il al-'ukbariyya."e
c*Al-Sarawiyya,"p. 59. / "Al-'Ukbariyya," Q. 49. The question was asked why, 'Ali being a more important figure than Ubaiy b. Ka'b and 'Abd AllPh b. Mas'iid, their texts should have been published in competition with the text of 'Uthmiin, but 'Ali's was not. The point of the question is to cast doubt on the tradition that 'Ali ever compiled a text. Al-Mufid replies: "As for you question about the publication of the texts of Ubaiy and Ibn Wfas'iid and the concealment of the Commander of the Faithful" text, the reasons for that were: the importance of the Commander of the Faithful's influence against the rulers of the age and the slight importance of Ubaiy and Ibn Mas'iid, the harm they anticipated for themselves from the Commander of the Faithful's open opposition as compared with their slight fear of anyone else, and also because the Commander of the Faithful was one of their rivaIs whereas Ubaiy and Ibn Masciid w r among their followers and subjects. So there was not much harm to the people ee in the publication of their text, contrary to what would have been the case with the Commander of the Faithful. Hence the two cases are different." pi). 26-27; F. BUNL, On the texts of Ubaiy and Ibn MasCiid,see IBNAL-NAD~M, ''al-K~r'8n,~' Shorter Encyclopaedia o llm, pp. 278-79. f
1
2

(3) Beyond doubt, what is contained between the covers of the Quran is God's word and revelation, and none of it is the word of man. I t is the greater part of what was sent down. And the
1 IBN AL-NADPM,28; for more on 'Ali's text, see GOLDZIHER, p. Richtungen, pp. 272-79.

TI-IE TIIEOLOGY

OF AL-SIIAIKH A L - ~ I U F ~ D

PROPHECY

Al-Mufid continues, taking up the fourth question: (4) However a tradition has said of our Imams that they commanded that what is between the covers should be read, even though it does not extend to what is beyond it nor [show] the lack of it, until such time as the Steadfast One [ul-Ql'im, i.e., the Twelfth Imam] - on him be peace! - shall arise and recite the Quran as God revealed it and as the Commander of the Faithful redacted it. They - peace upon them! - forbade us only the reading of traditions that bring words in excess of what is certain in the Quran, for they have not come down as universally related, but only as traditions from a single source. And a single relator can be mistaken in what he reports ... [The text here is corrupt]. So if someone says, "How can it be true [reading y q i @ instead of ya;bah] that what is between the covers is the word of God without addition or subtraction, seeing that you relate of the Imams that they read, 'You are the best Imams [reading a'imma instead of al-umma] raised up for mankind,' and also, 'We have made Imams in a middle position?'" the answer is that these are traditions from a single source, whose veracity God has not guaranteed. Hence we doubt them and do not deviate from what is plainly in the pages, as we are commanded - according to what we have explained. 1 The practical rule, then, is to take the Quran as it is, granting that it is not complete. The Imamite Quran is "complete" in the sense that the full text is in the hands of the awaited Mahdi and is not known from existing traditions. The "traditions of one source" which al-Mufid rejects are those used by al-Qummi in his commentary. In the Awd'il al-maqllildt the problem is treated again, and a different answer is given to the second question. Al-Mufid says:

the Quran and the curtailing and abridgment that some evil men have madq in it. (1) So, as for the way it is put together, what exists needs rearrangement, putting certain parts before and others after. No one who knows anything about the abrogating and abrogated [verses] and the Meccan and Median [suras] has any doubt about what we say. (2) As for omission, reason does not deny that i t [could have] happened. I have investigated the thesis of those who asserted it, have discussed it at length with the Muctazila and others, and have not heard from them a conclusive argument against this thesis. A number of the Imamites have said that no word, verse, or sura is missing, but that what had been set down in text of the Commander of the Faithful has been omitted - namely, the interpretation and explanation of its meaning according to the truth of revelation. That too is confirmed and revealed, even though it does not belong to the collection of God's speech which is the inimitable Quran. For the interpretation of the Quran has also been called "Quran." God has said: "And hasten not with the Quran before its revelation has been completed to you, and say, My Lord ! Increase my knowledge [Quran, 20 : 1141." So the interpretation of the Quran is called Quran. There is no disagreement among the commentators about this. My opinion is that this thesis is more likely than that claiming omission of words from the Quran itself rather than just its interpretation. I lean towards this and ask God's help to what is right.l By thus taking the Shi'ite traditions to refer to the Quran's authentic interpretation rather than to the text itself, al-Mufid brings himself into agreement with the Muctazilites and all of the Sunnites. He goes on to deny that any additions have actually been made. H e says: As for additions to it, that is certainly false from one aspect and possible from another. The respect in which it is certainly false is that anyone should be able to create an addition amounting to a sura that could pass for such in the eyes of the experts in eloquence. As to the respect i n which it is possible, one or two words may have been added, or one or two letters or the like, not amounting to the length required for inimitability. And this might pass even in the eyes of most of the experts as the words of the Quran.
AwZ'il, pp. 54-56

I say that detailed traditions have come from the Imams of guidance of the Family of Muhammad about the difference between
1 "Al-Sarawiyya," pp. 59-60. For the verses of the Quran, see supra, p. 93, n. 3 and n. 6. The unreliability of the traditions purporting to give fragments of other texts is also stated in "al-'Ukbariyya," Q. 49: "However it is not established that Ubaiy and Ibn Mas'iid had two distinct texts. That is said only by way of conjecture and single-source traditions. Single-source traditions reporting readings of Ubaiy and Ibn Mas'tid have brought many readings which have to do with the Commander of the Faithful, as we have mentioned."

THE 1'HEOLOCY OF AL-SIIAIKH AL-WUF~D

PROPHECY

However, when this happens, God must show it and make the truth clear to His servants. I do not assert that it has happened. Rather I incline to the view that it has not, and that the Quran is free of it. With me in that is a tradition from Ja'far al-Sldiq. This doctrine is contrary to what we have heard of the Nawbakhtis about additions to the Quran and omissions. And a number of the Imlmi theologians, jurists, and people worthy of consideration hold it.l An Imamite whom al-Mufid could rightly claim for his side was Ibn B l b t i ~ a . ~ In summary it can be said that two opinions were current among the Imamites about the integrity of the official text. Some, even before al-Mufid, had held the text of 'Uthmln to be integral. But there were others, like the Nawbakhtis, who, despite their general inclination towards Mu'tazilism, maintained that additions and omissions had been made. Al-Mufid had defended both views, but his final opinion probably was that the text is integral as it stands.3 O n the Sunnite side, 'Abd al-Jabblr argues for the integrity of the text, pointing out the great importance Muslims attached to the Quran and that if they were careful to hand down the variant readings of people like 'Abd Alllh b. Mas'iid and Zaid b. Thlbit, they certainly
Ibid., p. 56. See infra, p. 355. a J. ELIASH, "The Shi'ite Qur'gn," Arabica, XVI, (1969), 21, argues that the traditions recounted by al-Kulaini "do not claim deliberate corruption of the 'Uthmanic codex, but only certain textual differences among the variant readings (giri'it) and dialectical peculiarities, and a change in order of some of the suras as well as some of the verses." In support of his thesis that the mainstream of Imamite thought did not claim substantial omissions from the revealed text, Eliash quotes Ibn BPbfiya (on which see infra, p. 355) in favor of the integrity of the text, and al-Mufid, AwLJil, p. 56. In view of the fact, however, that al-Mufid himself had held a different view in his "al-Masg'il al-sarawiyya," and also from his report about the Nawbakhtis, it is clear that there were two opinions current in Imamite circles. Hence it is by no means certain that the traditions recounted by al-Kulaini do not allude to deliberate corruptions in the official text. See also E. KOHLBERG, "Some Notes on the Imamite Attitude to the Qur'gn," in S.M. STERN, al., Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition: Essays Presented b et y His Friends and Pupils to Richard Walzer ("Oriental Studies," No. 5; Oxford: Cassirer, 1972), pp. 209-224, who shows that both views persisted in the Shi'a down to modern times.
1

would have noted any attempt to tamper with the integral text. Also he argues that if 'UthmHn had corrupted the text, 'Ali had ample opportunity during his own caliphate to restore it.1

The Mu'tazilites insisted much more strongly on the prophet's immunity from sin and error than did the traditionists or the Ash'arite theologians. The reason is that the good conduct of the prophet was seen by them to be necessary for the welfare of the believers. He must preserved from committing any sins which would lessen his credibility to them.2 'Abd al-Jabblr admits that some prophets are more excellent than others, but he does not see an essential personal superiority of Muhammad to the other prophets. They are all treated under the same heading. For the welfare of the people, who need to receive the prophetic message from one who is himself credible, God must not permit the prophets to commit serious sins or tell lies, either before or during the time of their mission.4 Nor can they make mistakes, sin through negligence, or practice dissimulation in the actual performance of their prophetic functions. 6 A prophet may, however, be negligent or distracted in his performance of a duty which he has already explained to the people beforehand and whose minimum requirements he has already fulfilled. Thus M$ammad could suffer distraction in his superrogatory prayer, as is related in a tradition from Dhii 1-Yadain.6 'Abd al-JabbHrJs principle is that the prophet is not allowed any defects which will turn men away from his message. I n every other
Al-Mughni, XVI, 384-86. On this attitude of the Mu'tazilites in general, see T. ANDRAE,Die Person Muhammeds in Lehre und Glauben seiner Gemeinde ("Archives d'ttudes orientales," Vol. XVI; Stockholm: Norstedt, 1918), pp. 139-45. For 'Abd al-Jabbar's linking of this with the doctrine of man's best interests, see al-Mughni, XV, 302-03. Ibid., p. 280. Ibid., pp. 279, 300, 304. Ibid., pp. 279, 281. Ibid., p. 281; on this tradition and al-Mufid's argument with Ibn Babiiya about it, see infra, pp. 355-58.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

PROPIIECY

respect, however, the character of the prophets is like that of other men. And so they are not protected from committing small sins which bring no discredit upon them; either before or during their mission. On the other hand, at least some of the early Imamites denied the Prophet was protected from committing sins. A tradition related by the Hanbalite Ibn Batta says that 'Abd AllLh b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan (d. 1451762-3) accuses the RLfidites in general of polytheism (shirk) on the grounds that: If you ask them, "Did the Prophet commit a fault (dhanb)?" they say, "Yes, and God has pardoned all his faults, the early and the late." If you say to them, "Did 'Ali commit a fault?" they reply, "No. And whoever says he did is an ~nbeliever."~ That this really was the doctrine of some Shi'ites is attested by alAsh'ari. He relates that a group of RZfidites of whom HishLm b. alHakam (d. 1791795-6) was the principal said that while the Imams were protected from' sins, mistakes, and negligence, the Apostle was not. The Apostle had in fact sinned in releasing prisoners for ransom after the Battle of Badr.* The Imams, on the other hand, are not the recipients of direct revelation through an angel (16 yfih6 ilayhim) and so must be protected. Al-Ash'ari goes on to say that the other opinion among the RLfidites was that neither the Prophet nor the Imams disobeyed God, and they are protected from failings and negligence because they are God's Proofs to the believers. Al-Mufid holds that the prophets, with the exception of Muhammad, were protected from all except small sins of the sort that does
Zbid., p. 280; Sharh, pp. 473-76. 'ABDALLAH 'UBAID ALLAH MUHAMMAD A M D A NB. BATTA AL-'UKB. B. ~ BAR& La Profession de foi d'Zbn Batfa, ed. and trans. H. Laoust (Damascus: Institut francais d e Damas, 1958)' text, p. 43; translation, p. 71. T h e allusion is to Quran 48 :2. 8 T h e reference is to Quran, 8:67-69. 4 AL-ASH'ARI, Maq61dtJ p. 48. 6 Zbid., pp. 48-49.
a ABO

not bring discredit upon their agent, committed inadvcrtcntly before the timc of their prophetic mission. He says:

I say that all God's prophets are protected from grave sins before their mission and after it, and from all small sins which bring discredit on the one who does them. As for small sins which do not, it is possible for them to commit them inadvertently before their mission. They do not commit them afterwards in any case. This is the doctrine of the majority of the Imamites. All the Mu'tazila oppose it.1
For Muhammad, on the other hand,'GodYs protection is absolute, even being extended to the minor failings that are possible to other prophets. He says : On the protection of the Prophet Muhammad in particular,

I say that our Prophet Muhammad was one of those who did not disobey God from the time God created him till God took him. Nor did he ever have a contrary intention; nor did he commit any sin intentionally or from forgetfulness. This is what the Quran and all traditions say about Muhammad and his Family. I t is the doctrine of the majority of the Imamites. The Mu'tazilites oppose it. As for what the adversaries say about God's words, "that God may pardon your sins, the early and the late [Quran, 48: 21," and passages like that in the Quran, and the arguments they draw from it opposing what we have said, its true interpretation is contrary to what they imagine, and clear proof supports this. The Furq6n has spoken of what we have described. God has said: "By the star when it sets! Your comrade errs not, nor is he deceived [Quran, 53 :1-21." By this He denies that there is any disobedience or forgetfulness in him.2
Against Ibn BHbtiya and the ImHmi shaikhs of Qumm al-Mufid maintained that Muhammad was never even negligent in his prayer.
Awi'il, pp. 29-30. Zbid., p. 30. See infra, p. 358.

PROPHECY

OTHER PRIVILEGES.
All virtues and perfections, says al-Mufid, were given to Muhammad when. the prophetic office was conferred upon him. Included among these was the art of reading and writing, which was necessary for his mission as arbitrator of men's differences. He had to be able to read the creeds of other religions. l Al-Mufid holds, with all the Imamites, that all Muhammad's male ancestors back to Adam, as well as his mother and his uncle, Abfi TBlib, were believers. All others, he says, disagree with this.% Al-Mufid also maintains, with all the Imamites, that the prophets are more excellent than the angels. The Muctazila, he says, are divided on this point, the mass of them holding that the angels are superior, others hesitating to say which are better, and still others agreeing with the 1mamites.s

Muhammad, al-Mufid says, was protected from all sins, great an small, throughout his life. He committed no sins even from forgetfulness or distraction. Before their mission, other prophets may have commited small sins which brought them no discredit, but none at all during the time they functioned as prophets. 'Abd al-JabbHr attributes miracles to the Prophet, as does al-Mufid, and he is more definite than al-Mufid in listing them. 'Abd al-Jabbsr says the Quran is inimitable because of its intrinsic eloquence. I t must be called created, and the official text is integral. The prophets were protected from telling lies and from all sins which would discredit their mission, but in other respects they were no different from the rest of men.

Al-Mufid's main concern is with Muhammad and the twelve imams of his family. Al-Mufid speaks of Muhammad's great miracle, the Quran, but on precisely what grounds the Quran is miraculous, he is not definite. I n one treatise he says the reason is the Quran's own eloquence, and in another he says God prevented men from matching it. Which was his final position is not clear. Al-Mufid says the Quran was produced in time, but he refuses to call it created. And when it is recited, the listener can be said to hear God's speech because common language does not distinguish the recitation from what is recited. Al-Mufid says the official text of the Quran contains no additions or distortions, and probably his later position was that it contains no omissions either. When the Mahdi appears, he will recite it in its correct order and give its authentic interpretation.
AwJ'il, pp. 1 11-1 13. Zbid., pp. 12-13. Zbid., p. 16; see also AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, pp. 439-40.

CHAPTER V

IMAMATE

"The Imimiyya are those who hold the necessity of the imamate, 'i~mn,and the necessity of personal designation ( n q ~ ) , "says al-Mufid.1 The basic reason for whatever differences there are between his doctrines and those of his Mu'tazilite contemporaries is to be found in the notion of the imamate. This chapter will look at the definitions of "imam" given by al-Mufid and by 'Abd al-Jabbsr, his sinlessness, knowledge, and other privileges, the exaggerations to be avoided, the necessity of having an imam, the problem of the Twelfth Imam's occultation, and the way in which an imam should be designated.

DEFINITION.
According to al-Mufid, the Imams "take the place of the prophets in enforcing judgments, seeing to the execution of the legal penalties, safeguarding the Law, and educating mankind." This definition makes the Imam not only the head of the community in administrative, judicial, and military matters, but also the authoritative teacher of mankind. This latter function of the Shi'ite Imam is the root of the other doctrines to be examined: his protection from sin and error, the necessity of having an Imam at all times, and the way the Imam should be designated. 'Abd al-Jabbsr's definition of the imam assigns him the headship in administrative, military, and judicial affairs, but no role as authoritative teacher. The imam is "he who has sovereignty and governance
AL-MUP~D, al-Fwd, pp. 239-40. Awti'il, p. 35.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

of the community in such a way that no hand is above his hand."' 'Abd al-JabbHr goes on to say that this latter phrase is there to distinguish him from the q6di and the governor, who are subordinates. There was a wide range of views even among Imamites about the personal excellence of the Imams as compared with the prophets. AlMufid is cautiously inclined to place them above all the prophets except Muhammad. He says: A group of Imamites has held the superiority of the Imams of Muhammad's family over all previous apostles and prophets except Muhammad himself. Others have claimed they are superior to all the prophets except those who had authority ('Clzl l-azm). Others have rejected both views and held that the prophets are all superior to the Imams. This is a matter in which reason cannot either affirm or deny. Nor is there a consensus for any of the positions. Traditions have come from the Prophet about the Commander of the Faithful and the Imams of his line, and also traditions from the truthful Imams afterward; and in the Quran there are passages supporting the contention of the first group. I am not definitely decided. And I ask God for protection from error. Besides men, some angels are apostles and prophets in their own order. That the Imams are superior to angels as such, al-Mufid holds firmly. But that the Imams are superior to the leading angels as well, he holds with the same degree of hesitation as he felt for the human prophets. As for the comparison of the apostles and prophets anlong the angels with the Imams of Muhammad's family, I say of them what I said about the human prophets and apostles. As for the rest of the angels, although as angels they have a certain excellence, still the Imams of Muhammad's family are superior to them and have a greater reward from God. I hold this because of proofs which have no place in this book.3
1 Sharh, p. 750. For a comparison of the Shi'ite Imam with the Sunnite caliph, see I. GOLDZIEIER, Le Dogme el la loi de I'Islam, trans. F. Arin (Paris: Geutner, 1958), pp. 171-72. Azui'il, pp. 42-43. Ibid., p. 44.

The Imams, then, are in al-Mufid's opinion superior to all creatures except Mul~ammad.

Because the Imams take the place of the prophets in teaching mankind, al-Mufid concludes that they must be protected (mac~flmfln) like them in order to fulfill their duties without leading the community into error. Imams are protected to the extent that: They cannot commit small sins, except such as were mentioned as being possible to the prophets. Nor can they be negligent in anything pertaining to religious duty. Nor can they forget any of the rules of the Law. This is the doctine of all the Imamites, except someone who is eccentric and stricks to the letter of traditions which have interpretations contrary to his pernicious opinion in this matter. All the Mu'tazilites oppose it, allowing grave sins and even apostasy to occur on the part of the 1mams.l Al-Mufid's single concession to human weakness in the Imams is the same as that which he allowed for the prophets other than Muhammad: before the time of their appointment they are liable unintentionally to commit such small sins as do not bring discredit upon them.2 An Imamite opponent of this doctrine whom al-Mufid probably had in mind was Ibn BHbfiya, who held that the Prophet had committed a fault in prayer through inadvertence and who presumably would consider the same sort of lapse possible for the Imams.3 I t is true, as alMufid says, that the Mu'tazilites allowed the possibility of the imam apostatizing. But al-Mufid failed to add that the Mu'tazilites also maintained that such an imam was thereby disqualified from his ~ f f i c e . ~ Not only must the Imam, as the Prophet's successor, be sinless, but he must also be protected from error. The question then arises as to the
Ibid., p. 35. See supra, p. 101, which cites Awd'il, pp. 29-30. See infra, pp. 355-58. See 'ABDAL-JABBXR, al-Mughni, XX, Part 2, 170.

IMAMATE

extent of his knowledge. Al-Mufid denies any rational necessity for saying the Imams habitually knew the future and read the minds of men, although, he says, God sometimes gave them this knowledge. He says:

I say that the Imams of Muhammad's family knew the consciences of some men and knew what would happen before it occurred. But that is not a necessary attribute of theirs, nor is it a requirement for their being Imams. Rather it was only because God honored them and gave them that knowledge as a help [to the people] for obeying them and adhering to their imamate. [We know] they must have had that not by rational necessity, but because of revelation. As for asserting of them absolutely that they knew the unseen (al-ghaib), that is an obvious error. No one deserves that qualification except Him who knows things by Himself, not by a knowledge bestowed upon Him. That is God alone. All Imamites agree with this thesis of mine except a few partisans of delegation (al-mufawwada) and those of the exaggerators who are related to them. l
Extraordinary knowledge, then, is sometimes imparted to the Imams as a favor, making it easier for the people to believe in them. But it is by no means a quality which the Imams possess in their own right. The Imams' inability habitually to read other men's minds has a bearing upon their decisions in legal cases involving testimony. Sometimes, favored by God with inside knowledge of a case, they may decide against the testimony of lying witnesses. At other times, having no knowledge of others' hearts, the Imam may give a judgment in accord with a false witness's testimony. Al-Mufid. says:

lying witnesses, so that the true state of affairs would not be hidden from him. The matters in this chapter have to do with favors and best interests, which only God knows fully. The Imamites have three positions on this subject: some hold that the Imams' judgments are based on appearances, not what they know, in every case; others hold their judgments are based exclusively on the inner aspect, not on appearances, which can contradict them; others hold the doctrine I have chosen.1 Hence if a judgment given by an Imam contradicts the testimony of witnesses, it still is to be accepted because the Imam can be presumed to be deciding on the basis of information direct from God. On the other hand, one cannot be sure, and there is always the possibility that an Imam may be deceived by appearances in any given case. This is not to say that the Imam's judgment according to false appearances is incorrect. A judgment based on the testimony of the required number of qualified witnesses is legally correct, even though the witnesses are giving false testimony. God will change the judgment on the Last Day, but the judge is not at fault or wrong for judging according to what appeared to be the facts. In thus admitting that the Imams do not habitually know the future and read the minds of others, and that they can be deceived by appearances, a l - M f i d is definitely on the side of the moderate Imamites. a When asked why 'Ali went into the mosque at Kufa if he knew an assassin would be waiting for him that day, and why al-Husain set out for Kufa if he knew the Kufans would desert him, al-Mufid replies by denying that the Shi'a are agreed that the Imams know in detail everything that will happen. He only says they know the legal status (hukm) of everything that happens. 8 His moderate view of the extent and detail of the Imams' knowledge also helps al-Mufid out of a difficulty i n a discussion of the Twelfth
Ibid., pp. 36-37. AL-ASH'AR~, Maq616t, p. 50, gives two opposite answers of Rlfidites to the question whether the Imams know everything. "Al-'Ukbariyya," Q. 20.
a

I say that the Imam may judge according to his own knowledge, just as he judges by what appears from testimony. And when he knows firsthand the contrary of what the testimony says, he thereby cancels out the witness's testimony and judges by what God has made known to him. I t is also possible, in my opinion, that the inner aspects of things may escape him, and so he would judge by appearances, even though they be contrary to the truth as God sees it. And it is possible too that God may show him the difference between the truthful and the
1

Awd'il, p. 38. On "delegation," see infra, pp. 114-15.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

Imam's occultation. A Mu'tazilite asks why, if the hidden Imam really exists, he does not show himself at least to al-Mufid to enlighten and instruct him, since surely he knows al-Mufid can be trusted not to betray him. Al-Mufid replies that the Imam has not, as far as he knows, been informed by God of the secrets of his conscience. So, for all the Imam knows, it may be dangerous to reveal himself to him. Al-Mufid hesitantly accepts the tradition that the Imams knew all arts and languages, while granting that this is by no means necessary from reason and analogy. His motive for holding it is the authority of tradition. He says: On the Imams' knowing all arts and all languages.

I say this is possible fi-om the standpoint of reason, and there is nothing to prevent it among the Shi'itcs who are truthful and protected from error. Clearly probative traditions have reported it to be true of the Imams and of those of their party I have named who are upright and innocent. This is the doctrine of the Imamite legists and traditionists. The Nawbakhtis have rejected it, as also have a number of Imamites who are neither knowledgeable in traditions, versed in speculation, nor following the right path.'
Here again al-Mufid is accepting traditions which, he says, have nothing in them against reason. He does not, of course, hold that the Imams and their privileged followers hear these voices constantly. By asserting the possibility of others hearing these angels, he is keeping the way open for the Imamite party's continued contact with the preternatural even during the occultation of the Imam. Al-Mufid refuses to say that the Imams were recipients of wally, or the same sort of inspiration that the prophets received. He notes that God inspired ("awhayni") the mother of MiisB, who herself was no prophetess, to suckle him.2 But the consensus of Muslims, al-Mufid says, is that there have been no recipients of wahy since Muhammad. The dreams of Imams, prophets, and apostles are preserved from error. Nothing is said of the dreams of upright Shi'ites. This rather puts the Imams on a level with the apostles and prophets, as far as dreams are concerned. He says: I say that the dreams of the apostles, prophets, and Imams are truthful and do not lie, and that God has protected them from false dreams. Widespread traditions have come from them cl-arly indicating this. The generality of Imamite jurists and traditionists hold this thesis. On the part of the Imamite theologians I do not know of any
1

I say it is neither impossible nor necessary from the standpoint of reason and analogy. Traditions have come from one who must be believed to the effect that the Imams of Muhammad's family did have that knowledge. If the traditions are well founded, they must be firmly held. However I am not absolutely sure they are well founded. And God is the helper to what is right. The Nawbakhtis have disagreed and called it necessary on the basis or reason and analogy. And all the delegators and exaggerators agree with them.
Once again al-Mufid stations himself between the Muctazilite, or any Sunni, who would deny such knowledge to the Imams, and the extreme Shi'ites who would say it can be proved by reason. The Nawbakhtis' uncharacteristic position on this question is probably due to their optimistic view of the power of unaided reason rather than to any basic affinity to the extremist Shi'ites. I t is rationally possible, says al-Mufid, that the Imams and even other outstanding men of their following may be able to hear the voices of angels without, however, seeing them. He says: : O n the Imams' hearing speech of the noble angels, even though they do not see their persons.
1 8

Ibid., pp. 41-42. Quran, 28:7.

Al-Fu,rCl, p. 80. Awh'il, pp. 37-38.

Awd'il, p. 39. For the Imamite tradition about the different modes in which "Wahy," Sllorter revelation is received, see supra, p. 84, n. 1. See also J. WENSINCK, Encyclopaedia o Islam, p. 622, who says the word denotes "relation as transmitted to f the prophets," and cites traditions describing how it came to Muhammad.

THE TIIEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH A L - ~ I U F ~ D

assertion or denial, or that they either ask or answer this question. All the Muctazilites oppose us in this. OTHERPRIVILEGES. Miracles too are possible for the Imams, although tliere is no proof from reason. Al-Mufid says: As for their performing miracles and receiving signs, it is possible but not necessary from reason, nor is it impossible from analogy. Mutually confirmatory and widespread traditions have come down to this effect. I hold it on the basis of revelation and the truth of traditions. With me in this are the majority of the Imamites. The Nawbakhtis disagree and reject it. Many who belong to the Imlmi party say it is rationally necessary, just as they say in the case of the prophets. All Muctazilites oppose us in this except Ibn al-Ikhshid and his followers, who allow the possibility. And all the traditionists say it is possible for any upright person of piety and faith.' Once again al-Mufid has put himself in the middle. Reason does not demand that the Imams have the power to work miracles, nor does i t forbid it. Physically the Imams are no different from the rest of men. AlMufid says:

is here at pains to defend the Shicite practice of invoking the Imams' intercession and making pilgrimages to their tombs. He says :

As for their condition after death, they are transported from under the dust and are living with their bodies and souls in the Garden of God. There they remain living at ease until the Day of Reckoning, rejoicing in the righteous of their Community and Party who join them, conferring honors upon theni, and awaiting the arrival of others who are like their pious predecessors. And indeed the condition of their own Party in this world is not hidden from the Apostle of God nor especially from the Imams of his Family after their death. For God keeps them continually informed of it. And they hear the words of those who address and invoke them in their celebrated, magnificent shrines. This is by a favor from God which makes known to them the doings of numerous men and conveys their invocations from afar - as the report has come down to us. This is the doctrine of all the Imlmi jurists and traditionists. I do not know of any thesis of previous theologians on the subject. I have been told that the Nawbakhtis opposed it, and I have met a number of Imamites deficient in understanding who reject it.
The teaching that the bodies of the prophets and Imams are no longer in their tombs is of course far removed from anything a Muctazilitewould accept. Undoubtedly it was the current belief of most Imlmis, but it is interesting that al-Mufid can name no previous Imlmi theologian who has defended it. He notes that the Nawbakhtis opposed it, and also some of his contemporaries. The Nawbakhtis' rationalist leanings have already been noticed. Al-Mufid is here unabashedly on the side of popular piety and traditionism. He goes on to quote in its defence two passages from the Quran and a tradition from the Prophet: "Whoever salutes me at my grave, I hear him; and whoever salutes me from afar, I reach him." 2 Al-Mufid also mentions that he has explained and defended this teaching elsewhere. I n one of these passages which still extant, he defends the reverence and invocation made at the empty tombs of the Imams by the agreed legitimacy of the course around the Kaaba. "Men show devotion to God by pilgrimage to the Holy House and running around

I say that the apostles, prophets, and Imams who are God's deputies are made and produced in time. They suffer pain and feel pleasure; their bodies grow with nourishment and waste away with the passing of time. Death overtakes them, and they can perish. The consensus of the believers in God's Unity is for this thesis, whereas the delegators and the ranks of exaggerators oppose it.3
If the Imams and prophets have normal bodies while they are in this life, their state after death is altogether extraordinary. Al-Mufid
Awi'il, p. 42. For al-Mufid's defence of the Imamite position on dreams, see al-Ftqtil, pp. 92-93. a Awi'il, pp. 40-41. a Zbid., p. 45.

' Zbid.
a

Quran, 3 :1 70-7 ; 36 26-27; Awi'il, pp. 45-46. 1

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

IMAMATE

it. They come from every land and town; He made it a house for Himself and a venerated dwelling, even though God is not enclosed in a place and is no nearer to one place than to another."l

I t has been seen that according to al-Mufid the Imams are superior to all creatures except Muhammad. Still the distance between God and creatures must be kept by denying them knowledge of hidden things other than what was occasionally communicated to them by God's favor. That their bodies are now in the Garden is a singular privilege, yet even this is only what has been promised in the Quran as the eventual reward of all the faithful. This in no way raises them above the status of creatures, nor does it necessarily put the Imams in equal rank with Muhammad. In his commentary on Ibn BBbtiya's creed, al-Mufid spells out what he considers to be exaggeration (ghulgw) and delegation (tafwid). As for the first, he says: The exaggerators pretending membership in Islam are those who link the Commander of the Faithful and the Imams descended from him to divinity and prophethood and attribute to them such excellence in religious and secular matters that they overstep proper bounds. They are erring infidels. The Commander of the Faithful condemned them to death by fire, and the Imams judged them to be infidels and apostates. Delegation (tafwid), which has a different meaning in Shi'ite than in Sunnite theology, is a type of ghulUw. Its subjects admit that the Imams are not divine but were created in time. Nevertheless, "they claim that God created them unique and special, and that He delegated (fawwad) to them the creation of the world together with all that is in it and all acts." 3 A Sunnite onlooker of course would see

no need to make a distinction between these two degrees of exaggeration. But apparently charges of exaggeration and falling-short (taq;ir) were being exchanged among various schools of Shi'ites, for immediately after this passage al-Mufid defends himself against a Qummi theologian's charge that the first step in exaggeration is the refusal to admit the possibility of inadvertence on the part of the Prophets and Imams. And al-Mufid in turn accuses his opponents of falling sh0rt.l On the question whether the imamate is a favor or merited by the person on whom it is conferred, al-Mufid says that is a favor from God's generosity, which however He gives to the person He foresees will freely carry out the duties of the imamate, and who He knows possesses in an exceptional degree all the qualities required for the office. This is to be gathered from what he says about the prophetic mission as well. Of the Imamate he says:

'i

\ !'

I say that the imposition of the imamate, in the sense of bestowing it upon the Imams, is like the prophetic mission according to the doctrine mentioned before. As for the honor, reverence, and obedience which others are bound to show him, he deserves i t because of his resolution to perform the duties which God imposes on him, and for his actual performance of them time rafter' time. This is the doctrine of the majority of tbe8 ~mamites,as we have said of the prophetic mission. And those lmamites whom we have mentioned as opposing us on that subject oppose us here too. With me are the majority of Mu'tazilites too, and all the traditioni~ts.~
He refers to what he had just said about prophecy being a favor from God, yet also deserved because of the prophet's foreseen cooperation. This doctrine might be described as a straddling of the question which al-Ash'ari said divided the Mu'tazilites: whether the prophetic mission is a reward or not. 4 But in the context of al-Mufid's system, the and SA'DB. 'ABD ALLAH, Kitib al-maqilit wal-jraq, ed. M. Jawiid Mashkiir (Tehran: 'Attiili, 1963), p. 91, where followers of Muhammad b. Bashir were said to hold it. See also IQBAL, 264-65. pp. See infra, p. 358. a Awi'il, pp. 34-35. Zbid. A L - ~ H ' AMaqGt, p. 227. R~,
p. 71

* "Al-'Ukbariyya,"
a

Q. 24.

Ta~bih,p. 63. For traditions imputing this doctrine to 'Abd Alliih b. Saba' and relating his condemnation, see AL-KASIISH~, Re61 al-Kashshi, ed. Ahmad al-yusaini (Najaf: al-Adiib, n.d.), pp. 98-101. See also M. HODGSON, "Ghul~t",E.Z.2, 11, 1093-95. Tu&i)t, p. 65. For a mention of the doctrine of delegation see AL-NAWAKHT~,

IMAMATE

real reason i t is brought up is to oppose the extreme Shi'ite partisans of reincarnation (tanaukh). He identifies the proponents and opponents of his view that the imamate and prophetic office are basically given by God's favor: This is the doctrine of the majority of the Imamites and all our jurists and traditionists. Opposed to it are only the reincarnationists who take their origin from the Imamites and others. Agreeing with them in that [i.e., prophethood by divine favor] are, among the Imamite theologians, the Nawbakhtis and all those who have engaged themselves in theology after them. The majority of Mu'tazilites hold that i t is bestowed as a favor, and all the traditionists say the same.l

this objection, 'Abd al-JabbZr adds that 'ipna "is necessary only in the Apostle of God, because he is a proof (huja) for the revelation he brings, not for the reason which you allege."' 'I~ma,then, is the privilege of the Prophet and no one else. 'Abd al-JabbHr goes on to express his view of the imamate and the qualifications of the man who holds that office: We do not require of the imam that he be distinguished from his fellows by virtue and knowledge. Indeed there is nothing to prevent all his qualities being shared by others. I t is necessary only that he have the qualifications and be placed in such circumstances that he actually becomes imam -just as the same is required for judges and princes in their own circumstances. And if it be learned that he is evil, then his imamate is corrupt and another must be sought which would be necessary anyway at his death. And since being imam does not preclude his dying, neither does it preclude what we have been talking about. a Opposed to the Shi'ites' insistence that the Imam must be protected from doing evil lest he lead his community astray, is 'Abd al-JabbHr's insistence that the imam can himself be corrupt, and when he is he should be deposed. In the Imamite view, the Imam is the judge of the community and God is the guarantor of the Imam. I n the Mu'tazilite scheme, the community is judge of the imam and God is judge of the community. Further on in the same section, 'Abd al-JabbHr argues against the Imamites' notion of 'ips and their assertion that it is restricted to the Imams. 'I~ma, he says, can mean either of two things: I t may mean that God has given him help to refrain from evil, and so he is maC;Em by reason of what God has done. But every man under moral obligation to obey God's command is equal in this respect, so this cannot be what they mean. Or it may refer to the man whose state is known to be such that he will not choose to do evil and fail in his duty. God has preserved him in the sense that He has put him in a state which makes (yaqla&) him choose to do his duty and abstain from evil. But we know
Zbid., p. 85. Ibid.

J i

The idea a l - M f i d is opposing here is that the imamate could be merited by good deeds done in a former life. Al-Mufid is strongly opposed to the doctrine of reincarnation, which had turned up from time to time among early extremist Shirites.l Al-Mufid even attacks his teacher, Ibn BHbEyq, for giving credence or a literal interpretation to traditions that souls had a pre-existence before bodies, and for holding that souls have a permanence of their own. These doctrines, al-Mufid . says, leave the way open for the partisans of met em psychos is.^ i n l ,r^\ '"f

QUALITIES IMAM: AL-JABBAR'S VIEW. OF THE 'ABD


'Abd al-JabbHr would, of course, deny the special knowledge in this life and the special status after death which al-Mufid attributes to the Imams. O n the problem of whether the community needs an imam who is protected from sin and error, 'Abd al-JabbHr recounts the Shi'ite argument that were the Imam capable of sinning, he might conceivably deserve the hadd penalty. I n that case, both he and his community would need another imam to execute the penalty - an imam who himself might fall into the same difficulty, and so on to infinity." After answering
Awd'il, p. 33. See AL-NAWBAKHT~, 35, 71; 'ABD AL-QADIR AL-BAOHDADI, pp. 31, al-Farq al-fraq, ed. M. al-Kawthari (Cairo: al-Thaqifa 1-islirniyya, 1948), p. 145. a Ta$bijr, pp. 32-36, cited infra, pp. 362-63. 4 Al-Mughni, XX, Part 1, 84.

bain

IMAMATE

that there is nothing against this being said of a number of people in every age, not just of the imam. And this shows the falsity of their ! m The first meaning which 'Abd al-Jabblr has suggested for ? a is a not necessarily effective help from God. All men are given enough help - in the Mu'tazilite view - to refrain from evil, and so they are all equally favored in this respect. But not all men accept this help, and so their own choice renders it ineffective. This cannot be al-Mufid's notion of ' i p a , for he has said that God gives His protection only to those He knows will accept i t . U n d since, according to al-Mufid, acceptance of the offered protection belongs to the essence of 'i;ma, the ones he names as being protected are "all the faithful angels, the prophets, and the Imams." ! m The reason why al-Mufid does not extend % a farther than the circle of good angels, prophets, and Imams is that his notion of 'i;ma includes more than 'Abd al-Jabbar's. It includes not only grave sins but also small sins and even inadvertence. Experience does not furnish examples of men of one's acquaintance who are immune from these small faults, and so 'ipa, in this sense, must be the special prerogative of the Imams, prophets, and faithful angels. Continuing his discussion of the possible modes of God's protection, 'Abd al-JabbZr names and excludes another, which al-Mufid also has excluded : Nor can they say he is protected in the sense of being prevented (mamnti') from doing evil. For if this were the case, moral responsibility would be frustrated, and he could not be praised. We have explained that 'i~ma of the imam cannot have a meaning other than the one we have mentioned, and if the imams were maC;rinz, their state would be no more certain than the state of those [i.e., other upright men in .c community].*
1

In 'Abd al-Jabblr's view, then, the imams can commit evil acts, even such as might warrant their deposition. His notion of 'i~macan be an attribute of others in the community also. There is nothing against applying this to one or another imam as well, but it is by no means necessary. Hence the imam need not be the best man in the community. Hence too 'Abd al-Jabbiir has no discussion of the special knowledge given to the imam, nor does he think of comparing him with the prophets and angels. In personal qualities the imam is like other men. So too 'Abd al-Jabblr excludes the possibility of the imams performing miracles. When he says that a miracle must be preceded by a claim to prophecy, he means that in an exclusive sense. Only a prophet can work miracles. Following and quoting Abii Hiishim al-JubbZ'i, he says that prophets must have a distinctive mark to set them apart from others, and miracles are that mark.1 For al-Mufid, on the other hand, not only the Imams but even their chosen agents can work miracles. He says: On the performance of miracles by the Imams' special officers, ambassadors, and chief disciples. I say that is possible, being forbidden neither by reason, tradition, nor the Book. I t is the doctrine of a number of the Imamite shaikhs. Ibn al-Ikhshid, [alone] among the Mu'tazila, and the traditionists hold it in regard to righteous and innocent men. The Nawbakhtis reject it and agree with the Mu'tazila against us in this matter. Joining them in that are the Zaidis and the Kharijites, who deviate from Islam. In al-Mufid's system authoritative teaching did not stop with Muhammad, and so it is possible for his successors, who are the Imams, and even for others appointed to speak for them, to have the credential of miracle.

Zbid., p. 86. Ta~hih,. 6 1;see subra, p. 81. p Awh'il, p. 111. Al-Mughni, XX, Part 1, 86.

Ibid., XV, 217 ff. AwiYiE, 41. The classes al-Mufid names are: al-man~tsbinmn al-khtij~a p. i mfhra"'rual-aburib. On this last title, see B. LEWIS, "Bgb", E L s , I 832. ,
a

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAMH AL-MUP~D

IMAMATE

NECESSITY HAVING IMAM. OF AN Al-Mufid upholds this central doctrine of the Imamites: The Imamites agree that there must be an Imam existing in every age as God's argument for men who are under moral obligation. By his existence he is of consummate religious benefit. The Muctazila are agree against this. They allow the possibility of many ages being devoid of an existing Imam. Joining them against the Imamites in this opinion are the Kharijites, the Zaidis, the Murji'ites, and the people called traditi0nists.l At the beginning of his al-lfSci?tfi imcSmat Amir al-Mu'minin, which is a defense of 'Ali's immediate succession after the Prophet, al-Mufid offers a brief fourfold demonstration of the necessity of the imamate from the Quran, tradition, consensus, and from reason and experience. On the first point, al-Mufid says: As for the Quran, there are God's words, " 0 you who believe! Obey God and obey the Apostle and those of you who are in authority [4:59]." So he is implicitly enjoining knowledge of the Imams by the fact that he enjoins obedience to them, just as He enjoins knowledge of Himself and of His Prophet by enjoining obedience to them both, as we have mentioned. And there is God's saying, "On the day when We shall summon all the people to their Imam. And whoever is given his book in his right hand, such will read their book, and they shall not be wronged a shred [17 :71] ." And no one can be summoned before a person without having first been obliged to know that person's identity. Going on to the second point, al-Mufid continues: As for tradition, a number of relators report that the Prophet said: "Whoever dies without having known the Imam of his age dies like one in the time of ignorance." This clearly shows that ignorance of the Imam excludes one from I ~ l a m . ~ Awd'il, p. 8. Al-Ifjdhfiimcimat Amir al-MuJminin'Ali b. Abi Tdib (2nd ed.; Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1950), p. 3. a Ibid., pp. 3-4.
1

On the third point, al-Mufid says: As for consensus, there is no dispute among the people of Islam that knowing the Imams of the Muslims is as incumbent on the masses as most of their duties in re1igion.l This is a dialectical appeal to the consensus of those who are called Muslims. Al-Mufid is arguing from the general consensus of all, even the people he has excluded from Islam in his previous point: those who do not actually know who is the rightful Imam of their age.2 In the fourth point of his argument, al-Mufid says: As for reason and experience, we find that creatures are legally dependent on the Imams. And this dependence requires that people have definite knowledge of them. Otherwise, in all the duties which have been laid upon men - namely to submissively accept truths from them, to appeal to them for learning what they know, to refer to them the arbitration of their disputes, to have recourse to them in case of necessity, besides the need of their presence for establishing such obligations as prayer, almsgiving, pilgrimage, and holy war in all these God would be morally obliging them to what they cannot fulfill. And since that is impossible for the Wise and Merciful One, it is certain that He has laid upon us the obligation to know the Imams and has established their identity beyond all doubt.8 The reason behind what is being urged here is that it would be unjust for God to command the impossible. This premise upon which the Imamite argument is built is also a fundamental Mu'tazilite principle.* The Muctazilites themselves, however, did not draw this conclusion from their principle. 'Abd al-JabbHr denies that the necessity for the imamate can be proved from reason. The imamate might be thought necessary, he says, either for enabling man to fulfill his obligations, or for explaining his obligations to him.6 But the imamate is
Ibid., p. 4. For al-Mufid's strict notion of consensus, not in use here, see infra, pp. 287-88. a Al-If$dQ, 4. p. This use of Mu'tazilite principles as the basis of Imarnite arguments has been Dogme, noticed by GOLDZIHER, p. 189. Al-Mughni, XX, Part 1, 17.

THE TIlEOLOGY OF

A - H I H AL-MUF~D LS AK

IMAMATE

not needed for the first reason, since man is able to fulfill the duties that are imposed on him without the imam. Nor is the imam necessary for explaining to man his duties, since what is imposed as obligatory from the side of reason can be explained by use of reason, and obligations imposed in addition to these are sufficiently explained by the prophet who brought that revelation. Nor do we need immediate contact with the Prophet, since we have plenty of traditions from him. Having argued that the necessity of the imamate cannot be proved from reason, 'Abd al-Jabbiir then proceeds to his own arguments that revelation makes it obligatory to have an imam in every age. The imam is needed so that the hadd penalties called for in the Quran will be carried out,' and also because of the consensus of the Prophet's Companions on the need for an imam.3 'Abd al-Jabblr's first argument "from revelation" looks like alMufid's argument "from reason and experience." The latter was actually based on two premises: the revealed principle that man must know and obey the Law, and the other premise supplied by reason and experience, that the Law cannot be known and obeyed without the presence of an Imam. There is, however, a real difference between 'Ahd al-Jabbiir and the Imamites on the kind of necessity with which the imam is required. With the Imamites the necessity for having an Imam in every age is absolute, while for 'Abd al-Jabbiir it is not. 'Abd al-Jabbiir does not believe that - as some Imamite traditions put it - the earth would swallow up its inhabitants if it should ever be left without God's h ~ j j a . ~ Nevertheless both al-Mufid and the Mu'tazila were in the same awkward position of being unable to point to an imam in the age in which they lived. Al-Mufid uses this as an argumentum ad hominem against the Mu'tazilites. He says:
1

I t is remarkable that both we and the Mu'tazila hold the necesand sity of the iman~ate the need for an Imam in every age, and we both declare to be seriously in error anyone who denies the need for the imamate after the Prophet. Yet they are always reviling us for our doctrine of the occultation (ghaiba) and for the fact that time has passed without the appearance of our Imam, whereas they themselves admit that they have had no imam from the Commander of the Faithful down to the present time, nor do they hope for the establishment of an imam in the near future. So in any case we are more excusable for believing in the occultation and - if a fair comparison is made - closer than they to answering the need for an Imam in every age. l Having made his point that the Imamites are at least closer to fulfilling the obligation than are the Mu'tazilites, al-Mufid goes on to forestall the same objection being brought against the Imamites now that their own Imam has disappeared. He continues: So these people have said : "Even though they [i.e., the Imamites] believe in the need for the Imam, their bad faith is plain to see, since the legal statutes are now in abeyance for lack of an Imam to execute them. You say that your Imam was visible until the time of the occultation. What is your excuse [now] for leaving off the enforcement of the hadd penalties and execution of judgments?" I answered : "These people [i .e., the Sunnites], although they are not open [as we are] to the accusation of leaving off the enforcement of the hadd penalties and legal statutes after the Imams who took charge of them in their time [went into hiding], do admit that in every age there is a group people 'of binding and loosing' empowered to pass judgments which call for the hadd penalties and the enforcement of legal statutes. So what is their excuse [reading 'udhr for ghadr] for failing to establish an imam, seeing that they themselves exist and are acknowledged [as people 'of binding and loosing'] ? They, being present and conspicuous in every age, should have established an imam who would put the legal statutes into effect. But they have let all this time go by without doing so, disobediently wandering from the way of guidance. Thus we have a ease against them.2
1

Zbid., pp. 18-20. Ibid., p. 41. Zbid., p. 47. See AL-KULAIN~, NOS.10-13. I, 179,

AL-MUF~D, rasi'ilfi ithbit al-bujja, Third Letter, p. 4. Kham Ibid., pp. 4-5.

Al-Mufid goes on to say that if his adversaries think they have an excuse for not naming an imam, the Shi'ites' excuse for not showing theirs is better. For it is well known that many of 'Ali's descendants have been killed or exiled, and the rest of them have lived in fear under the suspicion of the Sultan. The Mu'tazilites, on the other hand, who loudly claim to be the people who "command the good and forbid the bad," and say they can refuse to obey an evil government, have in fact avoided persecution and gotten along very well with the rulers in power.' Speaking about the immediate successors of 'Ali, 'Abd al-Jabbl asserts that al-Hasan was the true imam, and that his abdication in favor of Mu'Zwiya was made under duress and therefore not really intended. Even if it had been voluntary, the abdication would still have been invalid, since a duly qualified imam cannot abdicate. Other true imams were al-Husain, Zaid b. 'Ali, Muhammad b. 'Abd Alllh (al-Nafs al-Zakiyya), Ibrshim, Yazid b. al-Walid, and 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz. Mu'swiya and the Marwanids were definitely not true imams.s 'Abd al-JabbZr does not say directly what he thinks of the Abbasids. He does however raise the objection: how can one assert the necessity of having an imam in every age, seeing that this age is without one? He answers: We do not mean by "obligation" the actual having of an imam. We only mean that it is incumbent on the people to have one under certain conditions: that it be actually possible to have one, that someone qualified for it be on hand, and that there be no incumbent imam or heir apparent. When these conditions are fulfilled, the people are obliged to establish one. If they do, they have fulfilled their duty; otherwise they fall short of it.4 Ibid., pp. 5-6. Al-Mughni, XX, Part 2, 147-49. Ibid., pp. 149-50. For an assessment of the Mu'tazilites' attitude to these and Der the Abbasid caliphs, see W. MADELUNG,Imam al-Qcisim ibn Ibrcihim end die Glaubemlehre der Zaiditen ("Studien zur Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur des islamischen Orients," Neue Folge, Vol. I; Berlin: De Gruyter, 1965),pp. 36-43. 4 Al-Mughnb XX, Part 1, 50.
a a

Thus 'Abd al-JabbZrys answer to the objection that there is no present imam is a softening of the necessity for having one. This is quite consistent with his system, in which the obligation to have an imam comes from revelation, not from reason. Since the people can reasonably get along without one, the necessity for having an imam at all times is here less pressing than it would be in the Imamite system. Al-Mufid is compelled to answer the same objection put to him by a Muctazilite: why does your Hidden Imam not appear to you? He answers it by appealing to the thesis of best interests. The Imam knows that al-Mufid and others like him will not waver in their faith during his occultation. Al-Mufid continues: And he knows that this belief of our based on demonstration, without his being apparent to our senses, is more to our advantage for increasing our reward and making our deeds more meritorious. For work done in great difficulty has a greater reward than what is accomplished easily and peacefully. Knowing this about us, he - on him be peace! - is actually obliged to hide himself from us so that we may come to know and obey him in a way that merits us a greater reward than our knowledge and obedience would gain were he visible and were the objections and uncertainties of the occultation removed. l Then he turns the argument upon his Mu'tazilite interlocutor, to whom he attributes the doctrine that God must work for the best interests of the majority of men. Al-Mufid says: Your basic doctrine about God's help (lug)supports what we have been saying and renders it logically necessary, even if it be known that [some] infidelity will result from the occultation and faith would be the result of the Imam's appearance. For you say: "God must not give help if he knows that a man can do a nobler deed of obedience without it." Thus the Imam is prohibited from appearing when he knows that obedience to the Imam in his occultation is nobler than obedience done with him apparent, and that the mass of men will not lose their faith in either case.2 Al-FuJISI, p. 80. Ibid., pp. 80-81.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

IMAMATE

But it has been seen above that the Basran school did not hold that God is bound always to act for the best interests of men, while the Baghdadis, and al-Mufid with them, did.' So this argument could be directed only against a Baghdadi Mu'tazilite. Al-Mufid's disciple, al-MurtadP, asks him about the possibility of this argument being turned around and used against him. If it is to the best interests of his adherents that the Imam be hidden, will it not be less good for them when he appears? Al-Mufid replies: Undeniably at the moment when God foresees from their characters that, should He further prolong the Imam's occultation and delay his appearance, these adherents would act sinfully and thereby deserve a punishment which even several times the reward they thereby miss would not counterbalance, He will make him appear. And sparing them that punishment is more useful and advantageous to them than the reward they might have gained in the aforementioned situation.2

I n other words, when the Imam is absent, his followers have a chance to gain a greater reward by remaining faithful in difficult circumstances. But a time will come when God, weighing the weakness of their character, knows that the difficulty will be insupportable for them and that if the Imam does not appear immediately they will lose their faith. Then it will be for their best interests that the Imam, appear. The reward they can gain thenceforth will be less, but they will be more sure of gaining it. In a second argument from the principle of best interests, al-Mufid urges the possibility of acting for the best interests even of the Imam's enemies. He says:
Another consideration is that it is quite possible for God to know this about the state [of mind] of many of the Imam's enemies: that should the Imam appear [at a given time] they would believe, admit the truth upon seeing him, and submit to his rule; and on the other hand, should he not appear at that time, they would persist in their unbelief and, with their reason for doubting increased,
1

grow even more oppressive. When this is the case, God must in His wisdom make the Imam appear for the sake of the general good. If He should [then] permit his continued absence, He would be restricting the [general] good and denying [to many] the help they need to leave their infidelity. But it is not possible (liyq'fiz) according to our doctrine of best interests for God to restrict the [general] good. Nor is it possible that He should, as a favor to one of His creatures, increase the benefits he already has, if by that very action He would be refusing help to a multitude - a help [they need] for rejecting evil and for desisting from unbelief in God and contempt for His adherents - on them be peace! For the important point is to save men from destruction and restrain them from doing evil, not to increase their benefits. I t is more becoming [for God] to help one man separate himself from what would entail his eternal punishment than to grant [to another man] a favor that simply increases his reward. For just as God must not do anything for a man which enables him to acquire a benefit but which at the same time prevents him from reaching another benefit of several times the value of the first, so too He must not do for one man a favor which prevents another man from reaching a benefit several times the value of that favor. And when He thus withholds the favor from the first man, He is not thereby tempting him to do evi1.l His doctrine of best interests involves al-Mufid in a balancing of various interests : the individual against the collective, and increasing the reward of some against saving others from eternal punishment. By adopting this Baghdadi Mu'tazilite principle of best interests, al-Mufid acquires the basis of an argument for continuing the occultation as long as it continues and for bringing it to an end when it comes to an end. OBJECTIONS TO
THE

OCCULTATION.

In al-Mufid's generation the Twelver Shi'ite doctrine of the imamate was centered about the justification, explanation, and defence of the occultation of the last Imam. There were, of course, still the historical arguments about which of the Prophet's Companions had been his
Ibid., pp. 82-83.

See supra, pp. 72-76. Al-Fu$til, p. 82.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

IMAMATE

rightful immediate successor. But now that the line of the Imams and their agents had disappeared, the question was left: what practical, present difference was there between Imamite Shi'ism and Sunnism? Al-Mufid states the question bluntly in the seventh of his "Ten Chapters on the Occultation": if the Imam is not here in person to enforce the hadd penalties, carry out the legal statutes, and call to the holy war, then it would seem his putative existence in the world is no better than or different from his non-existence. Al-Mufid gives two answers to this objection. First, the Imam's occultation does not put an end to the true need the community has of him as guardian of the Law and God's proof (hujja) upon earth. But the Imam need not function personally. He may appoint a vicar, just as the prophets often acted through vicars and agents while they were on earth. When, however, lle finds his party straying from the traditions he has left them, then he must appear and take personal control of affairs. 1 The second argument looks to the enemies outside the Shi'ite community: if evil is rampant upon the earth because of the occultation of the Imam, the blame is not upon God for hiding him but upon the evil men who made his hiding necessary. Had God on His own initiative taken the Imam away without cause, then God would bear the responsibility for the evil that followed. But this was not the case.2 A tradition of the Imamites says, "He who dies without having known the Imam of his age dies the death of one in the time of ignorance." Al-Mufid says this is a sound tradition. How then explain the Imam's hiding from his own party? There is no difficulty, replies al-Mufid, in knowing a hidden Imam. The Shi'ite knows he is present in the world, and this suffices. We know many things that we do not see, such as persons and events of the past and future.3 But, the interlocutor pursues, what is the use of knowing the Imam if one cannot see him in person? Our very knowledge of him, of his existence, imamate, '@ma, and perfection, merits us a reward, al-Mufid replies. Our waiting for his appear1 Khams rasd'il, pp. 24-25. Ibid., p. 25. Ibid., Second

ance is an act of worship which staves off punishment and fulfills a duty laid upon us by G0d.l Here al-Mufid is defending the belief in the Hidden Imam not by a purely rational argument, but by an appeal to a positive command of God. To the question of how to justify the Twelfth Imam's continued absence in view of the fact that his fathers, though persecuted, did not hide, al-Mufid replies that there is one important difference between the Hidden Imam and his fathers. The latter did not call their followers to take the sword in revolt, and therefore the rulers of their times left them in comparative peace. But the Mahdi, when he reappears, will raise the standard of revolt, and so he must be very careful not to expose himself before he has sufficient forces at his disposal to fight the rulers in power, who naturally will resist him.2 An objector cites a tradition from the Imam Ja'far that as soon as three hundred and some tens of men are available - the number on the Prophet's side at Badr - the Imam must appear and begin his conquest. There are now many times that number among the Shi'a. So why does not the Imam appear? Al-Mufid answers that the men now available are not of the same courage, endurance, loyalty, singleness of purpose, purity, and soundness of mind as the men of Badr. If the required number of such were found, the Imam would immediately reappear. The objector asks how al-Mufid proves the need for these qualifications which are not named in the text of the tradition. He replies with an analogy from the Prophet's conduct at al-Hudaibiyya, where he did not fight even though he had with him several times the number of his companions at Badr. These men were of a different sort.s Another objector holds the same view as 'Abd al-JabbZr about miracles being exclusively a sign of the prophetic office. He says that if or when the Hidden Imam finally does appear, he will have to establish his identity, since all the people of the generation that could have known

First Letter, "al-Fugiil al-'ashara f i ithbHt al-hujja," chap. vii, Letter, pp. 2-3.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH

AL-MUF~D

IMAMATE

him before he disappeared have by now died off. He cannot prove his identity by working miracles, because he is not a prophet. Al-Mufid answers that miracles do not necessarily prove prophecy, but rather the truthfulness of the one who works them, whatever he claims to be. And he cites the example of Miryam, whom ZakariyyB' found miraculously provided with food. Besides the Mahdi's own acts, there will be plenty of other signs to accompany his coming, such as the appearance of the SufyHnid, al-DajjHl, and the killing of the descendant of al-Hasan, as the traditions foretell. To the objection that it is impossible for someone who was born so many years ago to be still alive now in the year 411, al-Mufid replies by citing examples of long-lived persons from the Torah and traditions. The traditions attesting the existence of the Hidden Imam, says al-Mufid, are so strong that if they are denied, one must deny all traditions pertaining to the Muslim Law. Rationally it is not impossible that God could have taken him to heaven, but since we have traditions telling us that the earth will not be left without God's hujja, we know he is still on earth.4 At this a Mu'tazilite expresses his astonishment that al-Mufid's pro-mu'tazilite tendencies could stop where they did. The objector says: How is it possible for you, a proponent of Justice and Unity, to believe in the imamate of a man whose birth is not certain, to say nothing of his imamate; and whose existence is not certain, to say nothing of his occultation? And now so many years have passed that those of you who believe say he is a hundred and forty-five years old! Is this possible in reason or revelation?b The reference is to Quran, 3:37. Kham rasi'il, First Letter, chap. x, pp. 29-31. For a description of and traditions about these and other signs of the Mahdi's coming, see AL-MUP~D, af-Zrs/zLid (Najaf: al-Uaidariyya, 1962), pp. 356-61. See also H. LAMMENS,'Sofilni', heros "Le national des Arabes syriens," Bulletin de l1Znstitutfrangais dYarcht!ologie orientale du Caire, 21 (1922), 131-144, especially pp. 134-36. a Kham rasi'il, First Letter, chap. vi, pp. 19-21. 4 Zbid., Fifth Letter, p. 3. Zbid., pp. 3-4.
1
9

AI-Mufid replies that his demonstration is based on the tradition that the earth will never be left without a hujja, or God's Proof. And he continues : The Proof has certain attributes. Whoever does not have them is not the Proof. And I have not seen any son of al-'AbbHs, nor of 'Ali - on him be peace -, nor in all the Quraish anyone who has those attributes. So I know, by rational demonstration, that the Proof must be someone else, even though he is not apparent. For the Proof can only be someone who is protected from sin and error. So if this is granted, the Proof must be in hiding.1 The basis of al-Mufid's argument here is Imamite tradition.

Since the Imams, in al-Mufid's view, take the pIace of the prophets as teachers of mankind and are God's Proofs on earth, the community does not have power to elect or appoint them. The Imam can be established either by performance of miracles, or by a formal appointment (nag) or less formal statement (tazuqif) of his predecessor. Al-Mufid says: The Imamiyya are agreed that, without miracle on the part of its possessor, the imamate is established only by personal appointment ( n q 'ali 'aynih) and notification (tawqif). The Mu'tazilites, Kharijites, Zaidis, Murji'ites, and those designating themselves as traditionists all oppose this and allow the imamate to be given to one who has neither miracles, personal appointment, nor tawqif.a

All the Imams were personally appointed by their predecessors. Both the Prophet and 'Ali appointed al-Hasan and al-Husain; and the Prophet, 'Ali, and al-Husain all appointed 'Ali b. al-Husain? 'Abd al-JabbHr denies that personal appointment is necessary for the imam, either from reason4 or from revelation.5 Requirements may
1

Zbid., p. 4. Awi'il, p. 9. Zbid., p. 10. Al-Mughni, XX, Ibid., p. 112.

Part

1, 99.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

be set down, and finding a man qualified for the office is a matter of personal endeavor (ijtihid).l But the man chosen need not be the best.a Imamites, says al-Mufid, are prepared to defend their line of twelve Imams by "rational analogy approved tradition, and clear demonstration which, if grasped, leads to ~ e r t a i n t y . " ~ The historical disputes to which al-Mufid gave so much of his time, talent, and ink: as to which of the Companions was best, the Prophet's appointment of 'Ali, and the succession of his family, are outside the scope of this study which is interested in al-Mufid's theology rather than the historical events which were the basis of his theological endeavor. CONCLUSION. Al-Mufid advances a moderate but definitely Twelver Shi'ite view of the imamate. He argues to the necessity of having Imams from the premise of God's wisdom and mercy. And he defends the occultation of the Twelfth Imam by using the Mu'tazilite doctrine of best interests. This means that al-Mufid's blend of Mu'tazilism and Shi'ite theology is more than a mere adoption of the doctrines of God's Unity 1 and Justice. Nevertheless when he is pushed to account for his certitude I of the existence of an Imam whom no one sees and the good of having an Imam whom no one can consult, al-Mufid must fall back upon the Shi'ite tradition that the world will never be without one of God's Proofs.

CFIAPI'TRE VI

GOD'S ATTRIBUTES

Al-Mufid begins his treatment of God's Unity with a profession of faith:

I say that God is one in divinity and eternity. Nothing resembles Him, nor can anything be compared with Him. He alone deserves adoration. He has no second with Him in this, in any respect or connection.
But as the doctrine of God's Unity developed in Muslim theology, i t ran up against the problem of how language is used about God. To what in God can the various things said of Him refer? The Quran gives Him a number of attributes. O n the one hand they do not all seem to have the same meaning, and yet on the other they must denote nothing in God which implies composition and impairs His perfect unity.

Im

Al-Mufid totally rejects the Ashcarite solution to this dilemma. He says that all believers in God's Unity agree with the profession quoted above, except : Some eccentric anthropomorphists: they freely use its words but contradict its meaning. And a man from Basra known as alAshcari has invented a doctrine that contradicts both the words and ideas of all the believers in God's Unity as we have described them. He claimed that God has eternal attributes, and in virtue of these entities [using ma'inin, the alternate reading], which are not He and not other than He, He eternally deserves to be described as knowing, living, powerful, hearer, seer, speaking and willing. And he claimed that God has an eternal face, eternal hearing, eternal Ibid., p. 17.

Ibid., pp. 99-101.


Ibid., p. 217. Awd'il, p. 10.

a
8

lad-

sight, and two eternal hands; and that all thcse are without bcginning and everlasting. In this thesis he had no predeccssors among those professing God's Unity, to say nothing of the people of Islam!' This is al-Mufid's criticism of the way al-Ash'ari spoke about God. Al-Ashcari's concern was to affirm a real meaning for the attributes which the Quran gives to God. He did this by drawing analogies with human subjects of such attributes, thus opening himself to the charge of anthropomorphism. In all this, as Allard remarks, "the 'center of interest for him is not the language which indicates the qualities, but the qualities aimed at by the language." The theologians concerned with the problem of language were the Muctazilitesand al-Mufid with them.

This is the doctrine of the believers in God's Unity. A number of the anthropomorphists have opposed it.' The care al-Mufid takes to add his remark about the temporality of language comes from his concern to score a point against the eternity of the Quran. 'Abd al-Jabbir makes the same point in saying that before God could speak to Adam and teach him "all the names," 2 Adam and the angels had to invent a l a n g ~ a g e . ~ Al-Mufid makes the attribute refer to an idea which the mind has of the object. Other objects also may fit this idea, and so the same attribute can be applied to them. Thus since both God and Zaid share in one idea which is expressed by the attribute "living," that attribute can be predicated of them both. Attribution is a function of speech or writing, and speech and writing are functions of a mind which invents or makes use of them. This is why there are no attributes and no attribution before speech exists. The Ash'arite view of attribution is different. Ibn al-BHqillini says: "The doctrine of the partisans of truth is that the name is the very thing named, or an attribute bound to it; and it is other than the fact of giving a name (tasmiya)." He is expressing a. simple realism in his theory of names and attributes. His care is to affirm as strongly as possible the literal reality in God of the qualities the Quran attributes to Him. Language, for Ibn al-Biqill8ni, is not made by the mind abstracting ideas from an object and using words to signify them. Rather language is in direct contact with the object. God's attributes are divinely given in the uncreated Quran. The Quran speaks directly about God, and what the Quran says of God must be somehow in God. 'Abd al-Jabbir, on the other hand, says that words are significant and by c ~ n v e n t i o n , ~ that language was invented by creatures. There
Awd'il, p. 22. Quran, 2:31. Al-Mughni, V, 166. AL-BKQILLKN~, Kitdb al-tamhid, ed. R. McCarthy (Beirut: Librairie Orientale, 1957), p. 227. p. See ALLARD, 304. Al-?Mughni, V, 160.
a

Al-Mufid defines what he means by attributes:

I say that an attribute, in reality, is what informs about a signified idea (macnan mustafzd) which is peculiar to the object described and what shares the idea with it. And that is not so until there exists speech or writing to denote what the utterance denotes and to represent it.
Zbid. The meaning of the term ma'nd is difficult to pin down. 0. PRETZL, Die Fruhislamische Attributenlehre (Munich: Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1940), pp. 37 ff., has shown that in early kaldm the often meant "accident." R. FRANK, "Al-ma'nh: Some Reflections on the Technical Meanings of the Term in the Kalim and Its Use in the Physics of Mu'ammar," J.O.A.S., LXXXVII (1967), 252, says that it "nearly always means, in one sense or another, an intrinsic, determinant cause in of some real aspect of the being of the subject." S. VAN DEN BERGH, Averroes, Tahdfut al-tahdfut (The Incoherence o the Incoherence), trans. with introduction and notes f by S. van den Bergh (London: Luzac, 1954), I I , 4 , says that ma'hnin correspond to the which are "meanings (in a more or less objective sense)." TO Stoic notion of ~ E X T ~ , this he relates the term shai', corresponding to the Stoics' 71, or "everything of which something can be said." For comment on this and further references see J. VANESS, "The Logical Structure of Islamic Theology," in G. von GRUNEBAUM Logic in (ed.), Classical Islamic Culture (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1970), p. 33. With al-AshcarT, ma'nh certainly has some sort of extralogical reality. Following ALLARD, 341, it is here translated as "entity." p. For al-Ash'ari's thesis that God a life, power, and knowledge, see "al-Luma'," p. 14, Nos. 24-25. For his thesis that God has two hands, eyes, and a face, see MaqdlZt, p. 290. a ALLARD, 229. p.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

is no natural and direct connection between the name and the object named. They are linked by the purpose (qasd) of the one who names. Al-Mufid too expressly denies the direct connection which Ibn alBHqillHni had affirmed. Al-Mufid says:

I say that the name is other than the named, just as I have said before that the attribute is other than the thing described. This doctrine is common to all the Shi'a and the Mu'tazila. Opposing this idea are the generality [al-'imma, i.e., the Sunnites] and the determinist anthropomorphists.
Thus both al-Mufid and the Mu'tazilites reject the simple realism of the Ash'arite theory of attribution. There is, however, a difference between al-Mufid and 'Abd alJabbHr when i t comes to explaining exactly to what - in the object or in the mind - a n attribute refers. Al-Mufid says:

I say that the description of the Creator as living, powerful, and knowing signifies intelligible ideas (ma'riirin ma'qiilit) which are neither the essence nor things (ashyi') existing in the essence (taqiim bihd), as all the attribute-party ( d i b al-sfdt) maintain. Nor are they states (ahwd) befalling the essence, as Abii HHshim al-Jubbi'i maintained. I n that he opposed all the believers in God's Unity. By "ideas" I mean what is understood in speech, not the existent things themselves. This is the doctrine of all the believers in God's Unity. Opposed to it are the anthropomorphists and Abii Hiishim, as we have said.3
The question is: how does God deserve the attributes that are given Him? 'Abd al-JabbHr summarizes the history of this problem: I n the opinion of our Shaikh Abii 'Ali, God deserves these four attributes, which are His being powerful, knowing, living, and existent, by His essence (li-dhitih) . I n the opinion of our Shaikh Abii HHshim, H e deserves them because of what He is by His essence (li-md hiiwa 'alaihi fi dhdtih).
Ibid.
a

Abii 1-Hudhail said: "God is knowing by a knowledge which is He." By that he meant what Shaikh Abii 'Ali said, only his expression was not exact. Don't you see that whoeversays, "God is knowing by a knowledge," is not saying that knowledge is God's very essence? I n the opinion of SulaimHn b. Jarir and others of the attributeparty (al-~iJitiyya), God deserves these attributes because of entities (li-ma'dnin) which are not described by existence nor by nonexistence, and neither by temporality nor by eternity. I n the opinion of HishHm b. al-Hakam, God is knowing by a knowledge that had a beginning in time. I n the opinion of the party of Ibn KullHb, God deserves these attributes because of eternal entities (li-ma'inin azaliyya). And by azali he meant qadim. But when he saw that the Muslims are agreed there is no eternal alongside God, he did not venture this thesis in an unqualified sense. Then up sprang al-Ash'ari, who freely said that God deserves these attributes because of eternal entities. H e said this out of impudence and small regard for Islam and the Muslims.' The expression describing Abii HHshim's doctrine, li-md hiiwa 'alaihi fi dhitih, "by what He is by His essence," refers to the theory of states (ahwil). For Abii 'Ali, God's attributes mean His essence. 'Abd al-Jabbgr goes on to demonstrate Abii 'Ali's view that God is knowing by His essence: If God were knowing by a knowledge, it [i.e., that knowledge] would be either known or not known. If it is not known, it cannot be asserted, for asserting what is unknown opens the door to all sorts of absurdities. If it is known, then it is either existent or nonexistent. If i t is existent, then it is either eternal or begun in time. But both these alternatives are absurd. So nothing is left but to say that God knows by His essence, as we do say.2 Sharb, pp. 182-83. AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, p. 547, says: "Sulaimln b. Jarir said: 'God's knowledge is neither He nor other than He. His face is He. His knowledge is a thing, and His power is a thing. I do not say His attributes are things.' " This can be made to accord with 'Abd al-Jabblr's account if one calls ma'nd a thing and says that these things themselves cannot be described. Or perhaps Sulaimln is being confused here with Hishlm b. al-Hakam, who said explicitly that attributes cannot be further described. See Maqdldt, p. 37. a Sharb, p. 183.

'
Awd'il, pp. 97-98.
Ibid., pp. 22-23.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

Here 'Abd al-Jabbk prefers to uphold Abii 'Ali's doctrine rather than Abii Hiishim's. But this provokes an objection from the point of view of the attribute-party: If someone asks: "Why not say that these entities (ma'dni) are attributes and that attributes are described neither by existence nor nonexistence, temporality nor eternity?" we reply: There are several obvious contradictions here. For one, you have described them as entities ;indeed, you have called them knowledge, power, and life. Second, you have described them as attributes. Third, you have described them as being indescribable. So your speech is contradictory in these respects.l 'Abd al-Jabbfir's reply here was a simple attack on the attributeparty's position. But the objector comes back with a rejoinder which implies that 'Abd al-Jabbiir must be holding the refinement which Abii Hiishim put on his father's doctrine: the theory of the states. The objector says : These entities .in our system are like the states [reading ahwdl instead of u@l] in yours. Just as these categories [i.e., known or unknown, existent or nonexistent] do not apply to the states in your system, so they do not apply in our system to the entities." 'Abd al-Jabbiir must now show the- difference between Abii Hiishim's system and the one which he ascribed to Sulaimiin b. Jarir. 'Abd alJabbiir says: These entities in your system are known, and so the categories of the known apply to them. This is not the case with the states. I n our system they are not known by themselves. Only the essence which has them is known. So the one is different from the other. What proves that the states are not known is this: were they known, they would be distinguished from other things by other states, and the same would have to be said of these as of the former. So there would be an infinite series of states, which is impossible. However if by your entities you mean what we mean by states, then welcome to our side!s
1
9

The mcaning of Abii 'Ali's doctrine sccms to be this: he wanted to avoid any kind of language which would seem to rcify that in God to which the attributes refer. Thus it is not enough to hold, as Sulaimiin was said to, that knowledge is an cntity (ma'nd) in God, cven with the restriction that these entities have no attributes of their own which would qualify them either as existent or nonexistent, temporal or eternal. To Abii 'Ali, this allowance of entities in God would impair His perfect unity. Therefore He should rather be said to be knowing by His essence or, in other words, by Himself, living by His essence, and powerful by His essence. The development which his son Abti Hiishim gave to this doctrine probably came in answer to the objection that if He is knowing by Himself and powerful by Himself, then the attribute "knowing" must mean the same as "powerful," since both refer to God's essence only. How distinguish the attributes that are given to God? Abii Hiishim's answer is not to deny the thesis that God is knowing by Himself. He refines it by saying God is knowing by what He is by His essence. I n other words, our attribute of "knowing," applied to God, signifies not a knowledge in God, but God in His state of knowing; "powerful" applied to God refers not to a power in God, but to God in His state of being powerful, and so on. I n Abii Hiishim's system, one can still say that God is knowing by His essence, or one can say that He is knowing because of what (state) He is in by His essence. The attribute does not represent a knowledge in God, but rather it represents God as knowing. I t does not represent a state of knowledge in God, But God in a state of knowing. Al-Mufid's doctrine on the attributes is a rejection of Abii Hiishim's refinement and a return to the position of the elder al-Jubbii'i, whom al-Balkhi also followed. Al-MuFid says: I say that God is living by Himself (li-nafsih), not by a life; He is powerful by Himself and knowing by Himself, not by an entity, as the an thropomorphist attribute-party maintains, nor by the newly-invented states which Abii Hiishim al-JubbS'i introduced.
M. HORTEN, philosophischen Probleme der spekulativen Theologie im Islam (Bonn : Die -Banstein, 1910), p. 124, citing Ibn al-MurtadP.

Ibid., p. 184.
Ibid. Ibid.

He differed thereby from all the believers in God's Unity, and he perpetrated a worse error than that of the attribute-party. This is the doctrine of all the Imamites and of all the Mu'tazilites, except the one we have named. I t is held by most of the Murji'ites, the majority of the Zaidis, and a number of the traditionists and of the Kharijites [reading wal-muhakkima instead of wal-hikma] . l Al-Mufid understands "state" in a reified sense, despite the fact that Abii Hiishim invented it precisely in order to get away from any kind of substantization within God's essence such as "entities" might imply. I n al-Fu@l al-mukhtlra, al-Mufid says there are three things which are unintelligible: the (hypostatic) union of the Christians, the acquisition (kmb) of the party of al-Najjiir, and the states of the school of Aba Hiishim. First, says al-Mufid, the word "state" as used by Abfi Hiishim has a meaning different from that of ordinary speech. Al-Mufid continues : I t is surprising to see the same man who disputes the anthropomorphist thesis - that God has a knowledge by which He is knowing and a power by which He is powerful - and who calls anyone who holds such a doctrine a polytheist, himself claiming that God has a "state" by which He is knowing and by which He differs from one who is not knowing; and He has a "state" by which He is powerful and by which he differs from one who is not powerful; and so on for "living," "hearer," and "seer." And yet he still claims he is upholding divine Unity! How is it that he does not perceive his inconsistency? 2 Al-Mufid will not grant that there is any difference between Abfi Hiishim's states and the entities which other posit. Then he touches on the reason for the theory: The holder of this thesis claims that these states are diverse, and were it not for their diversity, the attributes would not differ from one another nor have intelligible meanings. Awd'il, p. 18. Al-Fu~til, 279-80. pp.

And if you ask him, "Are these states God or other than God?'' he replies, "I do not say they are He nor that they are other than He. For it is impossible to say either." Yet he accuses the Mu'tazila and the determinists of ignorance in their theses that God's attributes are not God and not other than God. He wonders at them and calls them crazy and foolish ! l Al-Mufid has given a reason for Abii Hfshim's positing the states: the diversity of the attributes' meanings. He rejects Abii Hiishim's answer to the problem without providing an answer of his own. Going on to attack the theory of states from his own view-point that they must be reified, al-Mufid says: Then, he did not call them things. The inconsistency of this can hardly escape anyone acquainted with reasoning and dialectic. I think what compelled him thus to contradict what theologians have established and agreed upon was [reading hawa for min], the fact that a thing must either be existent or nonexistent. So he was loath to assert that the state is a thing, for then it would be either existent or nonexistent. When [i.e., if] it was existent, it would, according to his principles and ours, necessarily have either eternity or temporality. But he could not call it eternal, for thereby he would be deserting the doctrine of God's Unity and putting himself in a worse position than the attribute-party. Nor did he allow himself to call it temporal, seeing that because of it the Eternal One forever deserves the attributes, and that would be contradictory. And if he called it a nonexistent thing, he would be opening himself to an inconsistency like the one we have mentioned. Therefore he denied that the state is a thing.2 To what, then, according to al-Mufid's own doctrine, do the attributes refer? He has said that an attribute gives information about an Yet idea peculiar to the thing de~cribed.~ he has also refused to allow that there are any ideas in God. Furthermore he has said, "By 'ideas' I mean what is understood in speech, not the existent things themselves."4 Thus al-Mufid shows himself to be a conceptualist with Ibid., p. 280. Ibid., p. 281.
p. 136.

a
1

a See supra,

' Ibid.

regard to God's attributes. For if, as he says, what the attribute signifies is an idea, that idea exists not in the object spoken of, which is God's essence, but in the mind of the speaker. All the ideas will refer to God's essence and only His essence. Any difference between them must be purely subjective to the speaker, not warranted by the object spoken of. This was precisely the difficulty Abfi Hlshim wanted to avoid by formulating his theory of states. The theory of states may or may not have been a successful answer to the difficulty. But al-Mufid rejects the theory without offering an alternative of his own. Besides the problem of differentiating the attributes among themselves, there is also the problem of differentiating the same attribute as it applies to the Creator and to creatures. This problem is more easily solved than the former by the theory which comes from Abii 'Ali. Whereas one of us is "knowing" by a knowledge in himself which is the causz of his being so, God is "knowing" by His essence, or, as al-Mufid puts it, by Himself.

God's attributes of essence are the description of Him as living, powerful, and knowing. Don't you see that He eternally and unceasingly deserves these attributes. And our description of Him by attributes of act, such as our saying He is creating, sustaining, quickening, killing, initiating, restoring - don't you see that before He creates creatures He cannot be described as creating? And before He raises the dead He cannot be said to be quickening? And so it is for all that we have enumerated. The difference between attributes of act and attributes of essence is that the subject of the latter cannot be described by their opposites nor as being without them, whereas the subjects of attributes of acts can be described by their opposites and as ceasing to have them. Don't you see that God cannot be said to die, to be unable, or to be ignorant, nor can He be described as ceasing to be living, knowing, and powerful? But He can be described as not creating today, not nourishing Zaid, not bringing a certain dead person to life, not initiating a thing at this moment, and not restoring it. And He can be described as sustaining, withholding [sustenance], yuickening, killing, initiating, restoring, giving existence, and annlhllating. l 'Abd al-Jabblr usually names four essential attributes: God is powerful, knowing, living, and existent (mawjzid) ' Although, he says, mawjfid is not literally ascribed to God in the Quran, God is said there to be ka"in and thzbibit, which mean the same.3 Other attributes, such as "eternal," are also essential.*

The Mu'tazilites in general distinguished between God's essential attributes, which are eternally true of Him, and His attributes of act, which signify His actions in time. These are sometimes truly predicated of Him and sometimes not. The intent of this distinction was to uphold both God's immutability and His temporal action in this world. Al-Mufid names three attributes which are eternally true of God and whose opposites cannot ever be predicated of Him: He is always knowing, powerful, and living. These are distinguished from His attributes of action. Al-Mufid says: God's attributes are of two kinds: one related to the essence and called attributes of essence, and the second related to acts and called attributes of act. The meaning of our term "attributes of essence" is that the essence deserves the ideas they signify - and no others - necessarily. The meaning of "attributes of act" is that they are due in virtue of the existence of the act and are not due before the act exists.

Al-Mufid asserts that God knows all future and possible events, both those which will happen and those which will not. Hishlm b. alHakam, he says, was falsely accused by the Mu'tazilites of denying this.6

Tashfh, pp. 10-1 1. See, for example, Sharb, pp. 182, 196Al-Mughni, V, 232. Ibid., p. 233. Awi'il, p. 21-22: "I say that God knows everything that happens before it happens, and that there is no event He does not know before it takes place. There is nothing known or that can be known whose reality He does not know. Nothing on earth or in heaven is hidden from Him."

THE TkiEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP?D

'Abd al-JabbZr has a careful definition of "knowingJJ by its possible results. He says that calling a man "knowingJ' means saying he is able to produce purposeful (muhkam) action, provided he has the power to act. The proviso is inserted, 'Abd al-JabbZr says, because one of us might not have the ability to do what he kn0ws.l I n other words, if you are wondering whether a particular agent is knowing, ask if his actions are purposeful. "Knowing" predicated of God means "that He is characterized by a state whereby purposeful actions come from Him." a Thus for 'Abd al-JabbZr, knowledge is connected with the ability to plan. The reason for bringing this u p here will become apparent below i n the consideration of perception (idrtZk). I t will be seen that whereas al-Mufid associates perception with knowledge, 'Abd al-JabbZr does not. For 'Abd al-JabbZr, perception is associated with life.

I say that the Eternal One's deserving these attributes is from revelation, not analogy or rational proofs. And the meaning in all of them is simply knowledge, nothing more. What we understand by these expressions over and above that is sensation; and this is in~possibleto the Eternal One. And "perceiver," when used of God, can also mean that nothing escapes Him and nothing is far from Him. The idea of perception by sight and other senses cannot be meant by it, because that is really sensation, as we have explained. I know of no opposition from the Imamite theologians to this. I t is the doctrine of the Baghdad Muctazilites,a number of Murji'ites, and a group of the Zaidis. Opposed to it are the anthropomorphists and their brethren among the attribute-party, and also the Basrans among the Mu'tazilites.
'Abd al-QZhir al-BaghdZdi attributes this doctrine to Abfi I-QZsim al-Balkhi and says that here is following al-NazzZm, who held that God does not literally see anything. 'Abd al-QZhir goes on to say: The Basrans and our companions say that God literally hears - rather than just knows - speech and voices. Al-Ka'bi and the Baghdiidis claim that God does not hear anything, in the sense of the perception called hearing. They interpret the description of Him as Seer and Hearer to mean that He is knower of the audible objects which others hear and the visible objects which others see. But as 'Abd al-JabbZr explains the Basran position, it is not so close to the Ash'arites as 'Abd al-QZhir would have it to be. The disagreenient is really whether "perceiviqg" is a separate attribute or not. 'Abd alJabbHr reduces "hearing" and "seeing" to "perceiving," which he derives from "living." He says: Know that God is [rightly] described as Hearer and Seer. That means He is in a state which characterizes Him as perceiving the audible and the visible when they exist. We have explained Awci'il, pp. 20-21. R al-Farq bain al-Jraq, ed. Muhammad 'ABD AL-QAHIR B. T ~ H IAL-BAGI~D~D~, al-Kawthari (Cairo: al-Thaqiifa 1-isliimiyya, 1948), p. 109. 'Abd al-Jabbiir also mentions the Baghdadis' denial that God perceives, in al-Muhi! dil-taklg I, 138.

Al-Mufid accepts the QuranJs calling God Seer and Hearer, but only on the basis of revelation, not reason. I n God it means nothing more than that H e knows. Al-Mufid says: O n describing God as Hearer, Seer, and Perceiver.
"Rational proofs, the written Book, and multi-attested traditions from the family of the Apostle demand this conclusion. I t is the doctrine of the Imamites. "And we know nothing of what the Mu'tazilites report of Hishiim b. al-Hakam in opposition to it. Our opinion is that it was fabricated by them against him, and it has deceived those Shi'ites who followed them and alleged it of him. "We have found no book composed by him, nor any reliable account of a discussion. What he said about the foundations of the imamate and the questions of the Test indicate the contrary of what his detractors have reported about him. "With us in the doctrine we hold on this subject are all the believers in God's Unity, except al-Jahm b. SafwHn among the determinists and Hishiim b. 'Amr alFuwati among the Mu'tazila. Those two claimed that knowledge is not attached to the nonexistent and can be had only of the existent; and that if God knew things before they are, then the Test on His part would not be fair." For al-Fuwati's doctrine, see Maqikit, p. 158. For Jahm, see ibid., pp. 494-95. For reports that Hishlm b. al-Hakam held this too, see ibid., p. 494, and AL-KHAYYAT, pp. 108-09, 115. Al-Mughni, V, 2 19.

Ibid.

TI1E TIIEOLDGY OF AL-SHAIKH XL-MUP~D

before that this state refers only to His being living, and the Hearer is not called Hearer as an attribute over and above t11at.l Thus 'Abd al-Jabblr is not simply making "perceiving" equivalent to "living," for God is living even when there are no ol~jcctsto perceive. I n his chapter previous to the one just cited, he had made the same distinction with regard to a living man. He said: Our description of a living man as a "senser" and "perceiveryy is not the same as saying he is living. ["Living"] only means that this idea [i.e., perceiving and sensing] is possible to him. I t is true, however, that some theologians - not experts in language - describe a living man as a "perceiver." If by this they mean he is one who can perceive, it is valid to define him thus. If they intend by it what its apparent meaning entails, we have already explained that God cannot be described as One who senses, and so reliance on it as a definition of "living" is not valid.2 'Abd al-JabbHr is saying, then, that "living" imports the possibility of being a perceiver, but not its actuality.

that He knows perceptible objects. "Knowing," for 'Abd al-Jabblr is associated with planning, not with perception.

More important was the disagreement about "willing" as it applies to God. The determinist view was that God's willing is eternal. Thus the followers of al-Najjlr said that God wills by His essence, and the Ash'arites said He wills by an eternal will (bi-irgda qadima).l The Mu'tazilites in general said that willing is an attribute of act, not of essence, but they disagreed about what sort of act it is.2 Most Baghdadis, and al-Mufid with them, reduced God's willing to His action or His command. AlMufid says: That God is willing I say because of revelation, following and deferring to what is said in the Quran. I do not derive it from reason. I say that God's will in respect to His own acts is the acts themselves; His will in respect to others' acts is His command of the acts. Traditions to this effect have come from the Imams of Guidance of the family of Muhammad. I t is the doctrine of all the Imamites except for some eccentrics who have deviated from their colleagues in the recent past and differ from the doctrine of their ancestors. Most of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites hold it, especially Abii 1-Qasim alBalkhi, and a number of the Murji'ites. Opposed to it are the Basran Mu'tazilites. And the anthropomorphists and the attribute-party agree with them in t h k 3 'Abd al-JabbHr, on the other hand, maintains that God is willing in the same sense as one of us is. He disagrees, first, with attempts to identify God's willing with His eternal attributes of being knowing and powerful. 'Abd al-JabbHr says : When we say God is willing, we do not mean He is powerful or knowing. For He might will what He is not capable of, and He
This account is from 'ABDAL-JABBAR, Sharh, p. 440. This account is from al-Mughni, VX, Part 2, 3. Here 'Abd al-Jabbsr also notes the exception of Bishr b. a]-Mu'tamir, who held that God's willing is an attribute of essence as well as act. Awa'il, p. 19.
1

As for an explanation of the meaning of "living," 'Abd al-JabbHr admits that the best he can do is to name the possibilities that follow from the attribute, since the word "living" is itself plainer than any definition could be. A further consequence of 'Abd al-JabbHr's associating perception with life instead of knowledge will appear in the next chapter. There it will be seen that, according to 'Abd al-JabbHrYs theory, a living creature, if only his senses are in good order and in the presence of a perceptible object, necessarily perceives the object. As for God, who is living by Himself and not by a life, He does not need the instrument of sense organs for p e r ~ e p t i o n . ~ For 'Abd al-JabbHr God is living and therefore perceives perceptible objects when they exist. For al-Mufid, to say God perceives means
1

Al-Mughni, V, 241.
Ibid., p. 231. Ibid., pp. 219-20. See infra, pp. 175-76.
, ,

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

might be capable of [doing] what He does not will. And the same goes for knowledge. Our meaning is simply that He has the same attribute as one of us when he is willing.1 'Abd al-Jabblr does not explain how God might will what He cannot do. This clause is probably a slip of the pen: his, Mlnakdim's or a later copyist's.' At any rate, it is clear that 'Abd al-Jabblr opposes the reduction of willing to knowing and being powerful. Those who made such a reduction were the determinists, who in order to uphold their thesis that God wills everything that happens, made God's will coextensive with His knowledge and further distinguished this from His approval. Thus God would will everything that happens but approve only the good.S 'Abd al-Jabblr goes on to mention non-determinists who opposed his thesis that God is literally willing. He says: Opposed to us in that are our shaikh Abti 1-Qlsim alBalkhi and al-Na~qHm.They say: "When we say God is willing His own act, we mean He does not do it from inadvertence or neglect. When we say He wills another's act, we mean He commands it and forbids its opposite." So they did not assert the [real] meaning of this attribute in God. *

If you mean He became other than He was, why do you say that? So they find no way to their goal.' The second member of 'Abd al-JabbZr's disjunction makes it necessary for him to explain why or how God can begin to will without a change taking place in Him. To do this, 'Abd al-Jabbgr sets out the theory that God wills by a temporal will-act (irzda) which is not in a substrate ( l i f i mahall).' This is his explanation of how willing can be for God an attribute of act. An objection to 'Abd al-JabbHr's theory that God's will-act can be temporal is: if it is temporal, then He needs a prior will-act to produce that one, a prior for the prior, and so on endlessly. 'Abd al-JabbHr answers that the will-act is "the genus of the act," and as such does not need its own will-act. God does not will to will. This is proved by experience, for willing need not occur as something itself willed but rather can occur as a consequence of the object intended. When, for example, the eater wills his food, his will-act is not itself intended. Rather what is intended is the food, and the will-act follows upon that.3 This is 'Abd al-Jabblr's own solution to the difficulty. But he also takes note of a Baghdadi solution. He says:
Sharh, pp. 439-40. For the full development of this theory, see al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 111-174. "Will" can mean either the willer's faculty or his act of willing. When 'Abd al-JabbHr says God wills by an ircida, he is talking about a will-act, not a faculty. This is clear from two statements he makes about God's ircida: it has only one object, and it is comparable to man's ircida, which is an accident that comes and goes. First, against al-Ash'ari's thesis that God wills by an eternal ircida, 'Abd al-Jabblr argues in Sharh, p. 447: "Furthermore, that eternal ircida would be like the temporal irzda in that it can be connected in particular with no more one than object. So it would be necessary for God to have only a single object of His willing (murid)." One will-act has only one object, while a faculty could have any number of objects. Second, God's ircida, which 'Abd al-JabbHr says is temporally produced and in no substrate, is seen as corresponding to and in contrast with man's ircida. Man, 'Abd al-Jabblr says, is willing by an accident (ma'nd) which comes and goes. See al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 24. This accident, he says on the next page, is his ircida. I n man's case, irzda is an act, not a faculty, for a faculty would be a part of the man's make-up whether he happens to be using it or not. So too, God's ircida is a will-act.
a

In the course of his argument for his thesis, 'Abd al-JabbHr considers a serious objection :
One of the things they bring up is: "If God were really willing -it being known that He was not so forever but only acquired this attribute after not having it -, then He must have changed. But change is not possible in God. Therefore God must not be willing at all." We answer: what do you mean by change? If by it you mean that He became willing after not being so, that is what we are saying.
Sharh, p. 434. Arguing the same point in al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 188, 'Abd al-JabbHr says God is capable of doing many things He does not will, and that a man may will things, over which he has no power. 8 Ibn BHb6ya held this thesis. For al-Mufid's arguments against it, see infra pp. 344-46. Sharb, p. 434.
1

THE TMEOLOOY OF AL-SIlAIKII AL-MUI:~D

But there was one of our Baghdadi colleagues who corlsitlerccl the willing of the will impossible [reading ahdla irddata I-irZda instcad of ahda I-irida], claiming it is like the ctcrnal and tlle past in that it cannot itself be willed. But we, although admitting the possibility of willing a willact, do not say it is necessary. The same conclusions cannot be drawn from an admissioll of possibility as can from an assertion of necessity. l 'Abd al-JabbZr's reasoning here is a shade finer than the Baghdadis'. The importance of this in itself is not great. I t is mentioned here only to explain an assertion which al-Mufid makes claiming the support of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites for his side, and to put that assertion in its context. Al-Mufid says :

Another of God's attributes which al-Ash'ari had called eternal1 and al-Mufid, with the Mu'tazilites, called temporal, was speech. AlMufid has been seen describing speech as an accident,2 and accidents, in his system, have no permanence. They do, however, need a substratum in which to exist. God produced His speech to Miisii ejther in the bush or in the air touching the bush. And "speaker" means nothing more than "maker of speech."s
/

I says that the will-act needs no other will-act. For if it did, it would never come into existence, being in need of an endless chain of will-acts - which is obviously impossible. The will-act itself cannot be willed, for it belongs to the will-act to precede the object willed. So if it were necessary or possible for the will-act itself to be willed, it would be necessary or possible for it to exist before itself. This is the height of absurdity. And one of our associates among the people of speculation has said the will-act itself is willed, and by that he meant God's acts, which occur from Himself, on His initiative and by His creation - for they are His very will-acts and do not happen by any will-act on His part other than themselves. But this is not literally true. Rather it is a trope and metaphor. The true doctrine is the one we have stated. This is the doctrine of Aba I-Qiisim al-Balkhi and many of the Baghdadis before him, and also a number of the Shi'a. Others of them have opposed it, as have all the Basrans and determinist^.^
Once again al-Mufid is found taking a Baghdadi position. What alMufid and both Mu'tazilite schools agree in opposing is the thesis of the determinists that God wills e t e r n a l l ~ . ~
1

Another point of dispute between the Baghdad and Basran schools of Mu'tazilism is the warrant required for attributing names to God. For the Basrans, God could be called by names not found in the Quran and traditions but which were either synonymous with those which were, or were established by r e a ~ o n .Al-Ash'ari says: ~ The Baghdadis disagree [with Abfi 'Ali al-JubbZ'i] and say it is not permitted for us to call God by a name which reason says to be true of him but which He hai not called Himself. he; say that even though ' d i m has the same meaning as '6nz we can call Him ' d i m since He has called Himself so, but not 'En36 Al-Mufid expresses the Baghdadi view as his own, adding to it the authority which the Imams had for assigning names to God, He says :

I say that the Creator should be called only what He has called Himself in His Book or on the tongue of His Prophet, or which His Proofs, the successors of His Prophet, have called Him. I say this too of the attributes. This conforms to traditions from the family of Muhammad, and it is the doctrine of a number of the Imamites, many of the Zaidis,
Zbid., p. 15, No. 27. Subm, p. 89. "Al-'Ukbariyya," Q. I I. For 'Abd al-JabbHr's doctrine, which is the same as al-Mufid's, see al-Mughni, VII, 48-61.
a

a
3

Zbid., pp. 453-54. Awi'il, p. 93. See AL-ASH'AR~, "al-L~rna',"p. 18, NO. 36.

Al-Afuglmi, V, 179. Mapilit, p. 525.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

all of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites, the majority of the Murji'ites, and the traditionists -except that these groups substitute consensus for the authority of the 1marns.l Willingness to apply to God attributes derived by rational speculation and not found in revelation is another instance of the Basrans' more optimistic view of the power of reason. O n the other hand, within the expressions provided by revelation, both schools of Muctazilites applied rational criteria in choosing which attributes they would interpret literally and which they took to be figurative. So, for example, they all refused to say that God has hands. And in this rational reductive process within the scope of revelation, it is the Baghdadis, and al-Mufid with them, who go the farthest. Thus the Basrans, but not the Baghdadis and al-Mufid, maintain that God literally wills and perceives.

'Abd al-Jabbfr says that God wills in the same sense that man does. Al-Mufid denies this, reducing God's will for His own acts to the acts themselves, and His will for others' acts to His commands. 'Abd alJabbfr and al-Mufid agree that "speaking" is an attribute of act, and that God's speech is not eternal. Finally, al-Mufid will not allow names to be attributed to God other than those found in the Quran or traditions, is while 'Abd ai-~abbiir willing to predicate of God their synonyms and other attributes derived from reason. I n all of this 'Abd al-Jabbiir is upholding the Basran position, and al-Mufid is in agreement with the Baghdad Mu'tazilites.

The basic problem here is to say what it is to which God's various essential attributes refer, without either impairing the doctrine of God's Unity or denying a difference in meaning to the several attributes. The Ashcarite solution is that of simple realism, "knowing" predicated of God means that God has an eternal knowledge. Aba 'Ali's answer, with which al-Balkhi and al-Mufid agree, is that God is knowing by His essence. Al-Mufid explains this to mean that "knowing" predicated of God refers to a particular idea the speaker has of God's essence. Abii Hiishim's theory is a refinement of Aba 'Ali's view, attempting to link the speaker's idea with God's essence. "Knowing" predicated of God refers to God in His state of being knowing. 'Abd al-Jabbiir follows Abii Hiishim. God's classic seven attributes, where the main attention and controversy focused, are: powerful, living, knowing, hearing, seeing, willing, and speaking. 'Abd al-Jabbiir and al-Mufid agree that the first three are God's attributes of essence. Al-Mufid derives "hearing" and "seeing" from "knowing," and 'Abd al-Jabbfr derives them from "living."
1

AwZ'il, pp. 19-20.

CHAPITRE Vlr

JUSTICE

The first point established in the Mu'tazilite scheme of Justice is that God Himself is just. From this is follows that man must be free to choose his own acts. Otherwise God stands convicted of the supreme injustice of punishing for disobedience men who had no power to do otherwise. A third question, following upon the thesis that man has the power to choose his own acts, is how far man's responsibility extends for the consequences of his own actions. This is the problem of generated effects. On God's side, the further problem arises of His obligation to give compensation for undeserved pain.

Al-Mufid assumes that God is just. But the further question, why God acts, involves His attribute of being powerful. Al-Mufid holds that God has the power to act unjustly but does not. He says:

I say that God is able to do the contrary of justice, even as He is able to do justice. But He does no wrong, injustice, or evil. Holding this are a number of the Imamites, all the Mu'tazilites except al-Naqqlm, and a number of the Murji'ites, Zaidis, traditionists, and Kharijites. Opposed to us in this matter are all the determinists, al-NazzHm, and those agreeing with them against [God's] Justice and Unity. l
The opponents ofthis thesis come from two opposite camps. First are the determinists, for whom there is no standard of right and wrong other than God's sovereign will. According to them, God can do no injustice
Awii'il, p. 23.

JUSTICE

because whatever He does, simply because He docs it, is just. The second group of adversaries are certain Mu'tazilitcs. Al-Ashcari says that al-Naqgrn, 'Ali al-Aswgri, al-Jghi~,and others held that God is bound to act for the best and has no power to lie or do injustice. a This latter position puts a limit on God's freedom that was unacceptable to host Muctazilites and to al-Mufida8 Al-Mufid goes on to assert strongly that God does no injustice. He puts it in the form of a general creed on the subject:

God created most of His creatures to disobey Him and selected [reading khaga for hadda] some of His servants for worshipping Him. He did not distribute His favors universally to them, and He has placed upon most of them moral obligation beyond their ability to obey. He creates the actions of all His creatures. He punishes the disobedient for the disobedience He has made in them. He commands what He does not will, and He forbids what He wills. He has decreed the injustice of His servants. He loves wrongdoing and hates righteousness on the part of most of His servants. Far, far is God above what the wrongdoers say!' In his care to acquit God of all semblance of injustice, al-Mufid emphasizes that He punishes men only for actual crimes and misdeeds they have committed. He says:

I say that God is just and generous. He created creatures for His worship, commanded them to His obedience, and forbade them to disobey Him. He includes them all in His guidance and takes the initiative with favors and benefits to them. He lays no moral obligation upon anyone that is not within his ability, nor does He give commands to a person without also giving the capability for fulfillment. There is nothing vain in what He has made, no disharmony in His creation, and nothing evil in His action. High is He above partnership with His servants in acts, and far is He above forcing in works ! He punishes no one except for a crime he has committed, and He blames none of His servants except for evil he has done. "He does not an atom's weight of injustice; and if there is a good deed, He doubles it and gives from His presence a great reward [Quran, 4 :40] ." Holding this thesis are the majority of the Imamites. There are widely-attested traditions for it from the family of Muhammad. All the Mu'tazilites hold it, except DirHr and his followers. I t is the thesis of many of the Murji'ites, a number of the Zaidis and Kharijites, and a few of the traditionists. Opposing it are the majority of the Sunnites (al-'Zmma) and the remainder of the groups we have enumerated. They claim that
See supra, p. 63. Maqdldt, p. 555. Another limitation on God's power is also attributed to al-Na@m and rejected by al-Mufid in Awd'il, p. 23: "And I say that God is able to bring about what He knows will not happen - whatever, that is, is not [intrinsically] impossible, such as the association of contradictories and absurdities like that. In favor of this is the conand sensus of the believers in God's Unity, except al-Na~zim a few eccentric partisans of [divinely] created [human acts]

I say that God is just and noble. He punishes no one except for guilt he has acquired, a crime he has committed, or evil he has perpetrated after He forbade it. This is the doctrine of all believers in God's Unity except al-Jahm b. SafwHn and 'Abd al-Salim b. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-WahhHb al-JubbH'i [i.e., Abii Hgshim]. As for al-Jahm b. SafwHn, he claimed that God punishes him whom He has forced into disobedience and gave no power of [choice between] doing and not doing it. As for 'Abd al-SalHm al-JubbH'i, he claimed that a man might have no good or evil deeds at all and be totally without both act and omission. And so God would punish him for not doing his duty even though he did not do anything in shirking it, nor was. anything done to him. None of the believers in God's Unity ever held this thesis before him. I t is as bad as al-Jahm's doctrine, and in some respects worse.
The basis of al-Mufid's charge against al-Jahm is well known. AlMufid's accusation against Abii Hgshim al-JubbH'i has to do with a thesis in which Abii HHshim differed from his father, Abfi 'Ali, and it requires some explanation. Ibid., pp. 24-25. Ibid., pp. 28-29.

."

'
J

THE TIlEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKII A L - ~ I U F ~ D

The question is whether God punishes a man only for sinful acts, or whether He also punishes a man for certain non-action, namely his nonfulfillment of a duty. AbO 'Ali held that God can punish a man only for an act. What about a man who has not done something he should have done? Abii 'Ali considered such nonfulfillment of duty to be an act also: an act of omission (tark). His son, Abii HBshim, disagreed, and 'Abd al-Jabbir followed the latter. 'Abd al-Jabbiir describes the difference : We have already mentioned that praise and blame, reward and punishment are deserved for obedience and disobedience. What we are saying here is that just as praise and reward are deserved for obedience, so they can also be deserved for not doing evil. And blame and punishment, just as they are deserved for positive disobedience, may also be deserved for not doing one's duty. This is a disputed question between our sheikhs Abii 'Ali and Abii Hishim. According to Abii 'Ali, reward and punishment are deserved only for doing sbmething - not for not doing something. This is because [reading fa-lci li-'anna instead of li-annd], for one who is able by an ability [i.e., in contrast to God, Who is able by Himself], no middle ground exists between doing and omitting. In Abii HBshimYsopinion, on the other hand, not doing, just as doing, is a reason for deserving reward or punishment. And this is the correct d0ctrine.l In practice, both shaikhs agreed, for example, that the holder of a deposit had a duty to give it back on the owner's demand. Otherwise the keeper deserved blame and punishment. But why? Because, Abfi 'Ali would say, he had omitted a duty; because, Abii Hishim would say, he had not done his duty. This dispute does not have great importance in itself, but it is of interest because of an argument it inspired. 'Abd al-JabbPr reports an objection from the side of Abii 'Ali which attempts to compare Abii HHshimysthesis unfavorably even with the determinism of Jahm. The objector says :

This doctrine of yours is as bad as Jahm's doctrine in that you allow a man to be punished for something he has no connection with at all. In fact, your position is worse than his. For the most he allowed is that a man [can] be punishcd for something he has no connection with; as for punishing him when there is no deed at all to which his guilt is [even arbitrarily and extrinsically] related, he did not [go so far]. But you have allowed [a man] to be blamed and punished even when there was no act and no holding back, no taking and no omitting, no great sin and no small sin. This thesis is more deeply ignorant than JahmYs!l To this 'Abd al-Jabbk replies that Abil HBshim was not allowing anybody to be blamed who did not deserve blame, but his precise point was that failure to do a duty is blamable. I t is understood, of course, that God must give a man power to perform an act before He can blame him for not doing his duty.2 This difference of view is also reflected in the definitions the two al-Jubbi'is give to duty. For Abii 'Ali, duty is that whose omission is evil. For Abii Hishim and 'Abd al-JabbPr, duty is defined as: "the act whose non-performance deserves blame in some respect."S

Speaking of the notion of omission (tark), al-Mufid says that advertence is not required. In other words, a man who omits returning a deposit after the time it is due would still be liable to punishment. Presumably the understood condition is that the deposit-holder ought to I' have known when it was due. Al-Mufid says:

,*

On a man's omitting what has not come to his attention. I say that is possible, just as it is possible for him to set about doing something without adverting to it. If it were not possible to omit something until after one has noticed it, it would not be possible to do it either, until after that. Action, in order to be action, does not depend upon knowledge nor upon advertence.
Ibid., p. 640. Ibid. a 'ABDAL-JABBAR, al-Mughni, XIV, 185. For Abii Hashim's view of omission Park) as a technical term involving four conditions, see ibid., pp. 179 ff,

\'/ .

JUSTICE THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

This is the doctrine of most of the party of Justice. A group of them have opposed it, as have a number of the deterministsel On the other hand, continues al-Mufid, a man cannot be guilty of omitting in the present an action that cannot yet be done but will only be due in the future. Al-Mufid says: On a man's omitting to be in the tenth place while he is in the first place. I say that is absurd because it is impossible for him to be in the tenth place while he is in the first. Were it possible to omit what cannot be done at that moment, then it would be possible to have power a t one moment over that whose opposite cannot then be within one's power. But all the party of Justice agree that this is absurd. There is no disagreement on what we have mentioned between us and the majority of the people we have named [i.e., the "party of Justice," or non-determinists], although a few eccentrics among them have been opposed to what we have describedS2 This the way al-Mufid answers the I a man canis deserve blame in the present fortheoretical question whether future derelictions of duty. Opposite to it is the problem of whether a man deserves a reward for the initial stages of a legal religious act which he has begun but, lacking perseverance, did not bring to completion. Al-Ashcari says that most theologians held that partially fulfilled obligations, such as an interrupted prayer or a fast for part of the day, are obedience to God and, he implies, receive a partial reward.l Al-Mufid gives a quite different answer to this problem, for which he cites the agreement of the Basran Mu'tazilite Hishlm al-Fuwafi and two Imamite legists. Al-Mufid distinguishes two sorts of resolve with which a man may begin his legal acts: one which will not see the act through to the end but instead will flag and leave the act unfinished, and Awd'il, p. 109.
Ibid. For example, on the first day of Ramadan a man does not yet have the ability to fast on the tenth day. So neither can he be held responsible on the fintday for a future or possible omission of the fast on the tenth day which God foresees will happen - or would happen if the man should live that long.
a

the other sort of resolve, that of a man who begins the act for the sake of drawing near to God and will not flag. The former, says al-Mufid, is of no value and will receive no reward at all. He says:

On the completed (m.aw;Ul) and the discontinued (maq.tU'). I say that for every action with parts, which God has com- , manded to be done completely and has made an obligation and customary precedent (suntla), a reward is deserved. Such acts are the prayer, the fast, the pilgrimage, and acts of obedience like these. Then [in some cases] God knows a man will by his own choice discontinue it before it is finished or intentionally invalidate it by failing to do it perfectly. So none of it is done for the sake of drawing near to Him. And when an act is begun really for the sake of drawing near to God, its agent is not intentionally going to discontinue it and will not invalidate it by omitting of his own accord to do it perfectly. He will inevitably carry it on so as to do it according to proper order, by his own preference and choice. This chapter is related in meaning to the chapter on the states of the dying (al-rnuwlfit). I t is the doctrine of Hishlm b. al-Fuwafi among the Mu'tazilites, and of Zurlra b. A'yan, Muhammad b. al-Tayylr and a great number of Imamite theologians. Opposed to it are the majority of Mu'tazilites, all the Zaidis, most of the anthropomorphists, and groups of the Murji'ites.1 aying here is that when a man begins a legal ty, such as prayer, pilgrimage, or the fast, and then discontinues it, e and intention, which God knew from the beginning, were never such as to gain him a reward, even for that part of the duty which he performed. Hishlm al-Fuwafi's opinion on this matter sewhere, but Ibn Hazm does report his thesis on the tates of the dying. Hish5m held that if a man has been a believer roughout his life but then changes and dies an apostate unbeliever, od was always displeased with him, even during his arly life as a believer. I n other words, none of the good deeds the man

alfial f i 1-milal wal-ahwi' wal-nihal (Cairo: al-Adabiyya, this doctrine, see itfra, pp. 239-242.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

did while he was a believer merit any reward. So too, presumably, according to HishZm's theory of completed and discontinued acts, the first parts of a legal duty which a man begins but voluntarily leaves unfinished do not deserve any kind of reward from God. In this sense, the man's intention and resolve at the beginning are already determi! native of whether or not he will carry the act through to the end.
OF MAN'SPOWER CHOICE.

From their thesis of God's Justice, the Mu'tazilites drew the immediate conclusion that man must have the ability to choose between his own acts and their opposites. The determinists answered that if this were so, then man must be a creator, for his acts were his own, not God's creation. The Basran Mu'tazilites were willing to say flatly that man creates his own acts. But al-Mufid says:

tllc clloice of a t l ~ i l ~ g : wllctl~crit is tlic sarnc as willina it. I say that willing sornctl~ingis to clioosc it, and tllc clloicc of it is the sarue a s willing a~itl prcfcrring it. Arid this wort1 may express the idea of intending onc of two opposites. And it also means the occurrence of an act following upon knowledge and without coercion. The word "cliooser" refers exclusively to one who has power (al-qSdir). I t means he has the potency for doing the act and for doing its opposite, without saying anything about his actual intention and decision. This is the doctrine of a number of Baghdad Mu'tazilites and many of the Shi'a. Opposed to it are the Basran Mu'tazilites and all the determinists.1
011

I say that creatures do, produce, devise, make, and acquire. I do not say that they create and are creators [reading annahum instead of lahum]. I do not go beyond what God has said in speaking about that, nor will I venture outside the limits of quranic usage. This thesis has the consensus of the Imamites, Zaidis, Baghdad Mu'tazilites, most Murji'ites, and the traditionists. The Basran Mu'tazilites oppose it. They freely call men creators, thereby departing from the consensus of the Muslims. l
This is another instance of al-Mufid's reluctance to go beyond the terms of the Quran. 'Abd al-JabbZr too prefers to say that man produces his acts.9 Later on, however, in answer to an objection, he says that if one sticks to the linguistic meaning, "creator" is a perfectly good word to use of man; but since it is also a technical term from quranic use, he concedes that it should be predicated only of Al-Mufid says that choice (ikhtiycir) is the same as willing (ircida), with the connotation of intending one of two alternatives, without coercion. He says:
1

'Abd al-Jabb5rYs doctrine differs in that he allows the possibility of God making a man will something. In that case, the man is called the willer of the act to follow, even though he does not choose to do it. Willing (irida) plus preference (ithcir) makes choice. 'Abd al-JabbZr says : As for choice, it is the same as willing, although it is only so called if by it one act is preferred to another. If God were to cause in us the willing of something and compel us to it, that would not be called choice. For the idea of preference (ithir) is not present there. That is only verified when the agent does it [i.e., the willing] for the same reason as he does the object of the willing [i.e., the act]. 8 'Abd al-Jabbzr goes on to argue that choice is sometimes even compatible with compulsion. A man meeting a wild beast flees. His fear forces him to flee. But even in headlong flight, the man chooses one route in preference to another.3 I t was genera1 Basran doctrine that God can cause willingness in man. Abii Rashid al-NisHbiiri argues for this thesis against al-Balkh?, who denied it.4 The reason for al-Balkhi's denial, Abii Rashid says,
h Awi'il, p. 93. Al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 56. Ibid., pp. 56-57. 'Abd al-Jabbiir notes that Abii 'Ali denied this, saying that choice is incompatible with force. ABO RASH~D B. MUHAMMADSA'IDAL-N~sABOR~, SA'~D B. "Kitiib al-rnasg'il fi 1-khiltif bain al-Bagriyin wal-Baghdsdiyin," Berlin: Staatsbibliothek Ms., Glaser 230, Ahlwardt 12, fol. 198a.
a

Awd'il, p. 25. Sharh, p. 323. s Ibid., p. 380.


a

THE TEIEOLOOY OF AL-SHAIKM AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

he held that the willer of an act must also be the producer of the willingness for the act.1 This is the doctrine al-Mufid is following. The Basran theory finds its application in the next life, providing a reason why the people in the Garden do not sin.a The Basrans certainly did not think that God holds a man responsible for what he has done under duress.

1s that

I say that willing, which is the intention to bring about one of two alternatives presented to the mind of the willer, necessitates its object [i.e., the act]. And it is imp~s~sible willing to exist for without the willed act immediately follawing it, unless an act of someone other than the willer [using the alternate reading] stands in the way. This is the doctrine of Ja'far b. Har'b and a number of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites. And it is al-Balkhi's doctrine too. Opposed to it is the doctrine of al-Jubbg'i and his son, the Basran Mu'tazilites, the ignorant traditionists (al-hashtuiyya), and the determinists.1
Many of the Basrans did not subscribe to Abii 1-Hudhail's theory. These rather saw the will-act and the act of the limbs as two separate acts. The will-act may - but does not aecessarily - bring about an act of the limbs. Nor must the act of willing always precede tht .c.-illed action of the limbs. Among the reasons 'Abd al-JabbHr gives for denying that ircida necessitates the external act is that one person can wish for the act of another as well as his own act, but he certainly cannot necessitate the other's act. Besides, if it were so, then the limbs would have to obey the will even if they did not have the strength to obey. Furthermore it would mean that the subject of the will-act would have an effect on the other person whose act he wills, without touching him.8 As to the second question, whether the will-act must always precede the act, 'Abd al-JabbHr lists three opinions: first, that it can precede and can accompany the act; second, that it can only accompany. The determinists hold this, and they say that the will-act necessitates. The third opinion, that of the Baghdadis, is that the will-act must precede and that it necessitates the act.4 'Abd al-JabbZr holds the first view and defends it by pointing out that a voluntary act not only depends for its existence on the agent's previous ability to do both this act and its opposite, but it also depends for its specification upon the agent's now Awl'il, p. 85. Al-Mughnf, VI, Part 2, 86. 'Abd al-Jabbfrr can argue thus because irlda means
both willing and wishing. a Ibid., p. 87. Al-Mubit, I, 297-

Abii 1-Hudhail had a theory which said there are two moments i n a voluntary act. The first moment is that of the beginning process (yaf'alu), and the second is that of execution (fa'ala). The first moment is the inner aspect of the action: the agent's decision to do this rather than that. The second moment is the agent's physical movement which carries the act through. As al-Ash'ari describes the theory:

Abfi 1-Hudhail said: man is able to act in the first [moment], and he acts in the first [moment]. The act occurs in the second, for the first moment is the moment of yaf'alu, and the second moment is the moment of fa'ala?
Al-Naq5rn modified this doctrine slightly so that the action proper does not commence in the first moment but is restricted to the second. This modification stresses the point that the essential action is the external act: that of the limbs, not of the will.4

Thus, for those who followed the doctrine of Abfi 1-Hudhail and al-Na@m that a voluntary act has two moments, the first moment, or the act of willing, was said to necessitate the second moment, or the act itself. Such was the doctrine held by some Baghdad Mu'tazilites, but by no means all of them.6 Al-Mufid subscribes to this theory and says:
1
2

Ibid., fol. 197a-198a.

On this question, see infra, pp. 390-392. Maqdllt, p. 233; see also ibid., p. 443. W. M. WATT, Will and PrsdesFree tination in Early Islam (London: Luzac, 1948), p. 70. 4 Maqcikit, p. 234; see also WATT,p. 71. 6 For a list of those for and against this theology, see MaqrSldt, p. 415. There were Basrans and Baghdadis on both sides.
a

THE THEOLOOY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

willing this act rather than its opposite. The agent's will in the moment of the act makes it what it is. But willing can also precede the act, and most of the time it does.1 I n al-Mufid's scheme of the preceding, necessitating will-act, the state in which the willer has not yet definitely and finally made up his mind is not a will-act in the proper sense, but only an approximation (taqarrub). The moral evaluation of such a quasi-willing depends upon what sort of action is being considered and how close the person is to a decision. Al-Mufid says: On the [type of] willing which is only an approximation. I say that approximative willing is like any other will-act preliminary to the act itself. I t cannot be conceived as simultaneous with the [exterior] act since the latter has not [yet] emerged into existence and is nothing but an approximation. I t would also be absurd to attach [this kind of approximative] willing to the existent [act] or to the definite will for it, on the false supposition that the act itself is an approximation and has come into existence as such. [This kind of approximative] williilg is an "approximation" because its object is an approximation. And the moral status of the [approximative] willing - whether good or bad, near or remote [from issuing into a decision] - is the same as the moral status of its object. This is the doctrine of most of the party of Justice. The Basran Mu'tazilites oppose it, as do the determinist^.^

Is ability to do an act the simple result of physical soundness, or is it a special accident that must be attached to the agent before he acts? Al-Mufid takes the former view, which is that of the Baghdad school. He says: Ability (istitica) is really health and soundness. So every healthy man is an able man. A man becomes unable and loses his ability only by losing his health. Also, one might be capable of doing an act and yet not find the means (da) to do it, and so be able and yet prevented from doing the act. The prevention does not nullify the ability, but rather it nullifies the act. Hence a man might be able to marry but find no woman to marry. God has said: "And whoever cannot afford to marry free, believing women [Quran, 4:25]," showing that a man may be able to marry but not be married. And one may be able to make the pilgrimage before he makes it, and able to set out before he sets out.1 The other side in this dispute is explained by 'Abd al-JabbHr. He says that ability (istiti'a, qudra, or t E q ~ must come before the act. )~ There are, he says, two kinds of free act: that done directly (mubtada'), such as the will-act, and the act done mediately (mtltawallad), such as the voice, which is produced by a certain physical movement. The mediate act is of two kinds: that which is separate from its cause, such as the flight of a stone when it is thrown, and that which is not separate from its cause, such as the closeness which results from putting two things together. This latter is no different from the direct effect, in that capacity for it must precede it immediately. The mediate effect, however, which is separate from its cause may follow the ability by an interval of time.3 'Abd al-JabbHrYsmain concern in all this is to stand off against the Ash'arites and determinists in general, who say that ability can only Ta~hih, 24. It should be noted that here al-Mufid is not following the view p. of the Baghdadi whom he most often follows, Abii 1-QZsim al-Balkhi. Abii I-QEsim held that ability is an accident and as such does not remain in existence from one moment to the next. See AL-ASH'AR~, Maqddt, pp. 358, 230. Sharh, p. 393. Ibid., p. 391.

_, ,

'
I
I

Making this distinction between full-fledged willing and the mere approximation of willing is a consequence of the thesis that full-fledged '\ willing necessitates the act; this latter thesis is a consequence of the theory ! that the voluntary act consists of two moments. Al-Mufid affirms all I three. 'Abd al-Jabbsr, denying the first two theses, Aakes no mention of approximation. Al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 89-90. Awd'il, p. 93. This problem is mentioned briefly in AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt,

1
8

p. 419.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-WF~D

JUSTICE

be simultaneous with the act.l Hence he is at pains to prove the existence of an ability which is distinct from the act and the agent too. He gives three proofs. First, one of us may exist as able to do a certain act or unable to do it. There must be a reason for this difference, which is an accident (ma'nd) inhering in the agent. Second, one of two limbs may be able to act and the other not. The difference must be an accident which one of them has and the other lacks. Third, one may be able to do more than another. Again the reason must be a greater amount of ability in one than the o t l ~ e r . ~ 'Abd al-Jabbgr mentions that the Baghdadis oppose this because they have a different notion of qudra from either the Basrans or the Ash'arites. They say a man is able because he is in physical health.3 'Abd al-JabbZr answers that health consists in the balance of humors and cessation of sickness. No act comes from this, since an act comes from the whole person, not just the substrate (to which, presumably, health pertains). The Baghdadis seply that the act comes from a sound body, and if the body is not sound, there is no act. 'Abd al-JabbZr answers that this only proves the capable person needs health in order to act, not that his act comes from his health. Otherwise one would logically have to say his act comes from his being alive.h The significance of this dispute between the Baghdad and Basran schools is not momentous. The purpose of both schools was to combat the determinists, according to whom ability is simultaneous with the act. The Basran way of opposing this was to insist that ability is distinct from the agent, an accident the agent has in his time of choice previous to the act. The Basran way of combatting the determinists was, in effect, to deny that there is anything special about ability. I t is nothing more than the ordinary good health which makes a man fit for action. Ability, See AL-ASII'AR~, "al-Luma'," p. 54, No. 123. Sharb, p. 391. AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, p. 229, lists two Baghdadis, Bishr b. al-Mu'tamir and ThumFima b. Ashras, as holding this opinion. For al-Balkhi's different vie~v, supm, see p. 167, n. 1.
a

which means the power of free choice as well as physical power, rests with a man before and during the act, for it is nothing more than his state of health.

INDIRECT EFFECTS (tawallud).


The indirect results of a voluntary act, touched on by 'Abd aIJabbSr in the last section, were the subject of a long controversy among theologians. The problem was: how far does man's responsibility extend for the consequences of his act, even those consequences that are not foreseen? Answering this question of moral responsibility forced theologians to take positions on the influence and extent of physical causality in the world. The expression tawallud, or the generation of indirect effects, was probably invented by Bishr b. al-Mu'tamir, founder of the Baghdad school. But many others took positions on the problem of generated effects, and 'Abd al-JabbZr gives a summary of them: People held several different opinions on how acts are related to their agent. One said: man has no act but the will-act which inheres in his heart. And perhaps another added thought to it. They considered what takes place in his limbs, parts, and extremities - that is, movements and the like - not to be his doing. This is reported of al-JZbiz and ThumZma. Thereafter they differed : ThumZma considering everything besides the will-act to be produced without a producer, and al-JSLbiz saying it took place by nature and that only the will-act takes place by choice. Another said : everything that passes beyond the space occupied by the man is God's creature, by necessity of creation - meaning that it is the nature of bodies to move according as they are impelled. This is reported of al-Na~ziim. As for Mu'ammar, he says: all indirect effects and all accidents too are the action of lifeless bodies according to their own natures. God's only action is [making] the substratum itself. And man has no action therein except the willing. And some held that what takes place within the space occupied by the man is his act, but not what passes beyond that and takes place in the space of another. They considered what goes outside

/I
1
1

Sharb, p. 392.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MURID

JUSTICE

to be exclusively God's act. This is the doctrine of the determinists in their thesis of "acquisition." And something like it has been reported of S5lih Qubba. Others said: rather, everything that happens along with ('ind) an act of ours is of our doing. They even considered color, taste, perception, knowledge, etc. to be our doing, according to the theory of many Baghdadis. So these are the various doctrines about indirectly caused actions. Our view is that everything whose cause was from a man in such a way that another act takes place with it and in proportion to it, while its condition remains the same, is the man's act. What is not like that is neither generated from him nor related to him by way of action. However it cannot be produced without a producer. l The Baghdadis' theory was in extreme opposition to doctrines which said that acts outside of man's thinking and willing are all done either by God or by nature. Bishr b. al-Muctamir was said to have gone so far as to hold that if one man hits another and the other acquires some sort of knowledge because of the blow, the first man has made knowledge in the second; if a man raises another's eyelid, the consequent sight is the act of the first man; the maker of fdlu'dhaj (a kind of candy) causes its sweetness and smell. The doctrine of 'Abd al-Jabblr and the other Basrans is a modification of this Baghdadi position. However both the Baghdadis and the Basrans were defending the basis of man's responsibility for his acts and at least some of their consequences, against the determinists who said man merely acquired responsibility for certain acts which were done by God. The Basrans and Baghdadis were also opposing the theories of al-JHhiz, ThumHma, al-Nazziirn, and Mu'ammar, who, although admitting man's agency in his immanent , acts, assigned to God or nature the agency of external acts.a Al-Mufid rejects the theory of nature put forward by al-JHbiz. He says:

I say that what is "generated by nature" belongs only to the one who caused it by acting upon the thing which has the nature; it is not really the act of any nature. This is the doctrine of Abii 1-Q5sim al-Ka'bi. I t is contrary to the doctrine of the Mu'tazila on natures, and against the atheist 1 philosophers too in their doctrine of the acts of natures. Al-Jubb5'i and his son reject it [i.e., the doctrine of al-Ka'bi] also, as do the uncritical traditionists and partisans of divinely created acts and of determinism. l

I t will be seen that al-Jubb5'i and his son did not carry the generation of effects quite so far as Abii I-QHsim and al-Mufid did. Al-Mufid defines generated effects as those which are caused by direct effects. He says:

I say that among the acts of a free agent there are those which occur as generated from causes which he posited initially - causes which themselves were not generated [i.e., from anything prior to the free agent]. Examples are: hitting another, the blow being generated by his force and movement, and the pain of the one struck being generated by the blow; the archer hitting his target or other bodies; applying one's tongue to the palate, generating thereby vocal sounds and speech; and the like. The initial acts [using the alternate reading] are not generated; what is caused by the initial act, such as we have mentioned, is generated from the act of the one who posited the cause. This is the doctrine of all the party of Justice, except al-Na?zBm, and the partisans of fate and compulsion who agree with him in denying generation.
'Abd al-JabbZr would agree with this. Al-Mufid goes on, however, to say that effects of a generating cause, like effects of the will-act, follow with necessity. He says:

J)
I

1 Al-Muhi!, I, 380-81. 'Abd al-Jabbsr gives a longer account of all this in al-Mughni, IX, 11-14. See also AL-ASH'AR~, MaqZlit, pp. 400-08. a For an explanation of what al-Jgh& meant by "nature" in this context, see VAN ESS, Erkenntnislehre, pp. 134-37.

I say that every generated effect is a necessary effect, but not every necessary effect is generated. The difference is this: the necessary non-generated effect is what comes next after the willact, without any intermediate act of the willer; the necessary generated effect is what comes next after what is next to the will-act.
a

AwE'il, p. 83. Ibid., p. 85.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

This doctrine I have summarized myself for my thesis on the producer of the act, which philosophers call the soul. I t is based on the doctrine of al-Balkhi and those Baghdadi theologians who hold both the necessitating force of the will-act and the generation of effects. l I t has been seen that 'Abd al-JabbGr does not agree that the act necessarily follows upon its being willed. Since al-Mufid holds that man is essentially 'soul, the problem of the causal influence of thought and willing upon his body and through his body upon the outside world is more complex for him than for 'Abd al-Jabbiir. The majority of Muctazilites, and 'Abd al-JabbGr with them, held that man is a material composite.a Al-Mufid goes on to give as his own the Baghdadi view of the considerable length to which the causal chain could go. He says:

'Abd al-Jabbiir notes with approval that Abii 'Ali and Abii Hiishim denied that one man can cause color, taste, and odor citller directly or indirectly, or that he can gencrate knowlcdge, belief, or perception in another man. l Another difference betwecn the Basrans and al-Mufid is the latter's scruple at applying the term "generating" to God's acts, since the word does not come from revelation. Yet he concedes that the meaning of the word is applicable to God's actions. 'Abd al-Jabbiir has no such scruple and remarks that there is no basic difference between God's indirect effects and man's, except that God is able to cause many effects directly which man can do only i n d i r e ~ t l y .Al-Mufid says: ~

1i

I say that pressures, movements, touches, separations, reasoning, belief, knowledge, pleasure, and pain all generate their like and their opposites. None of what we have mentioned is more prone to generation than any other. And I say that an agent may generate knowledge of things in someone else when he does to him something which causes that knowledge. He, for example, who shouts at another person who happens to be unaware makes knowledge in him by shouting knowledge being generated in him from the shout. Tnis is proved by the fact that, once he hears the unexpected shout, the rnan cannot be prevented from knowing it. Another example is that of someone hitting another: he generates pain in him, and by the pain and the blow he generates knowledge in him. For it is impossible that he would not know of the blow in that situation. Or one man might generate grief, joy, sadness, and fear in another by doing to him something that inevitably leads to grief, joy, anxiety, and fear. There are other examples too, but it would take too long to relate them. This is the doctrine of many Baghdad ~u'tazilites. Abii 1Q k i m al-Balkhi holds it. Al-JubbFi and his son oppose much of it, while al-NazzZm and the determinists oppose all of it.3
1
9

I say that many of God's acts are caused, but I refrain from using the term "generated" to describe them, even though the meaning fits. For in speaking about God's attributes and the attributes of His acts, I follow the Law and do not innovate. Muslims have said of many of God's acts that they are causes and are caused, but I do not find that they have called them generated. And whoever does so is not acting on the basis of a rational argument, nor can he appeal to the Book, the sunna, or consensus. I have adopted this position because of the arguments I have mentioned and also because of others which this is not the place to enumerate. As for my thesis on the causes, it is the doctrine of a number of Baghdadis, of Abii 1-QGsim, and Abii 'Ali. The only person of the Justice party who opposes it is Abfi Hiishim, son of Abii 'Ali. 3
The reason why Abii 'Ali refused to say God works by generating indirect effects is that God has no need of intermediate causes for bringing about the effects He desires, any more than He needs to work with tools. And so, said Abii 'Ali, God produces all His effects directly, withAl-Balkhi's refusal to say that God generates effects out intermediarie~.~ was for the same reason as al-Mufid's. Both were unwilling to give God attributes which are not mentioned in revelation.
1

Zbid. On this see infray pp. 222-28. Awi'il, pp. 85-86.

Al-Mughni, I X , 13-14. Al-Muhi!, I, 398-401. Awi'il, pp. 86-87. This is reported by 'ABDAL-JABBAR, al-Mughni, I X , 94.

JUSTICE

'1

Al-Mulid has been seen to hold that one man car1 generate knowledge and perception in another man. But al-Mufid denies that God has. an immediate role in causing man's sensation. He says: On what is perceived by the senses, and whether knowledge of it is from God's act or man's. I say that knowledge coming by the senses is of three types: One type is from ' ~ o d ' s act, another is from the act of the one sensing [reading al-hks instead of al-hawks], and another is from the act of another man. As for the first type, it is what comes to the knower as caused by something God has done, such as knowing the sound of thunder, the color of lightning, the presence of heat and cold, and the like. These things become apparent to the one sensing [using the alternate reading] without his intending to sense them. They happen by a cause from God, and men have no choice about them. As for the second type, it is what comes to a man upon his opening his eyes or listening with his ear, or what he makes an effort to sense with one of his senses, or by some act that necessarily causes him to sense a sensible object and acquire knowledge of it. As for the third type, it is what comes to the one who senses as caused by some man. Examples are: one person shouting to another without the latter making any effort to hear him, or someone causing him pain, without his being able to avoid knowing the pain when he is pained - and the like. This is the doctrine of the majority of Baghdadi theologians. Those whom we have named oppose it.l -Abd al-Jabblr and the Basran school would deny a l - ~ u f i d ' s third point: that one man can generate sensation in another. The Baghdad Mu'tazilites had a doctrine, which al-Muf'id shared, that God cannot act directly upon bodies but needs to act through material causes. a Al-Muf'id applies this thesis to the problem of whether God can produce sensation directly in men's minds. Can God give 'a blind man knowledge of color? Al-Mufid says: O n knowledge of cdlors: whether it can be created in the heart of a blind man or not.
1

I say that is impossible, just as it is impossible for an intelligent man not to have knowledge of a body when it is present and the rays of his sight reach it, with no obstacle in between. And just as there can be no knowledge of rationally derived conclusions (mustanbatcit) present in the heart of one who, lacking or failing to grasp the proofs, is incapable of deriving them - so too, knowledge of colors is impossible for someone who has been deprived of that sense which is the intermediary between his mind and the colors. This is the doctrine of Abfi I-Q5sim and many of the believers in God's Unity. A number of the Mu'tazila and all of the anthropomorphists have opposed it. l
Al-Mufid is saying here that anyone whose eyes are in proper working order will necessarily see a visible object immediately in front of him. An act of God is not required to make the man see. 'Abd alJabbar tells of quite a different theory held by Abfi I-Hudhail and Abii 'Ali al-Jubb?iYi,according to which God must still act to produce sensation in the man even when the above conditions are fulfilled. But Abii 1-Hudhail and Abii 'Ali differed from each other in their conclusions as to whether God can produce color in the mind of a blind man. 'Abd al-Jabbiir says: As for Abfi 1-Hudhail, he said that perception is a creative act of God ( j ' l All6h . . 'a16 jihat al-ikhtirh'). This is like the thesis of our shaikh Abii 'Ali. But he [i.e., Abii I-Hudhail] said it is possible for a man whose sense of sight is in good working order not to perceive an object directly present to him [reading bi-hudarih instead ofyu&r~nah] simply because God does not create perception for him. And he allowed the possibility of God's creating knowledge of colors in the heart of a blind man who has never seen color. Our sheikh Abti 'Ali denied that. For according to him, when a seer can perceive, he must perceive, because a substrate must either have one thing or its opposite -if the thing has an opposite. 2

Awd'il, pp. 66-67. See infra, pp. 21 1-12.

Awd'il, p. 110. Al-Mughni, IX, 12. Abfi 'Ali's reasoning about opposites may be clarified somewhat by ibid., IV, 55, where 'Abd al-Jabblr quotes him as holding that perception is an accident and, given soundness of eye and the presence of the object, "God must either produce it or its opposite, which is [also] an accident. For the substrate cannot be without both the thing and its opposite."

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

So according to Abii 'Ali, a man with good eyes standing before an object is not thereby either a seer or a blind man. But in this situation God must produce in him either the accident of sight or of blindness, and if God were to create perception of color in a blind man, the man would no longer be blind. 'Abd al-Jabblr vigorously combats the theory which would make sense perception an accident which God creates in the perceiver. Rather, says 'Abd al-Jabblr, any living being necessarily perceives if only his senses are sound and there are no obstacles between him and the object. 1 If God had to create perception in us, or if He had to create the image of the object in our sense of sight, then we could never be sure that we are perceiving all that is before use2 'Abd al-Jabblr's thesis that perception follows upon life has been seen to apply to God as well as to men.3 There is, of course, the difference that, whereas man is living by a life, God is living by His essence, and so, while man needs to use sense organs as instruments, God has no need of them. Living without any entity called "life," God also perceives without sense organs.* 'Abd al-Jabb5rYs thesis that a living man whose senses are in working order and who is in the presence of a perceptible object must perceive that object, is not different from what al-Mufid has said. 'Abd alJabblr also notes that even Abii 'Ali finally repudiated his own theory, described above, and argued for the necessity of man's seeing by his own act, not god'^.^ The theory of generated indirect effects, then, both in its original Baghdadi form which al-Mufid follows and in its modified form which 'Abd al-Jabblr held, was the answer the majority of Mu'tazilites gave to those of their number who, like al-Jlhiz and Mu'ammar, restricted
Sharb, p. 254. For 'Abd al-Jabbsr's full development of his theory of sensation, see ibid., pp. 254-61, and al-Mughni, IV, 33-82. It is a premise of his denial that God is visible. a Sharb, p. 255. 8 See supra, pp. 145-46. "ee al-Mughni, IV, 36. Ibid., pp. 55-56.
1

man's activity to his will and said everything else was done by God directly or through nature. Traces of this latter view are also found in Abti 'Ali's earlier theory of sensation.

One way God has of acting upon any aninial, says al-Mufid, is through natural appetites. The general appetite is God's responsibility. But the animal has a role in directing his general drive towards a particular object, and so this is considered the animal's act. Al-Mufid avoids discussing here to what degree a man's direction of his natural appetites to particular objects is voluntary. He says: I say that "appetite" (shahwa) is an expression with two meanings. One is the nature proper to the animal, calling it to a pleasure that suits it. The other meaning is the inclination of the nature to certain among the collectivity of pleasures. The first is, without any doubt or dispute, God's action since the animal has no power or choice in it. The second is an act of the animal - because of proofs which are too long to explain here. This is the doctrine of the majority of Baghdadis.1 'Abd al-Jabblr draws a series of distinctions between the appetite and the will. His point is that whereas God wills, He does not have a ~ p e t i t e .'Abd al-Jabblr says nothing in opposition to al-Mufid's ~ thesis.

In the realm of moral causality, God's responsibility for the results of His commands extends to what man does in obedience to them. Al-Mufid says :

I say that to command the cause is to command the effect, so long as the one who commands does not prevent the effect or know that the one who places the cause will prevent the effect. As
Awi'il, p. 87. At least one line is missing from the text following this quotation, where al-Mufid presumably names the opponents of this thesis. Al-~Viughni,VI, Part 2, 35-37.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

for commanding the cause, it is undoubtedly what makes necessary the command of the effect. Indeed, it really commands it, although not explicitly. I know of no opposition in this matter from any of those who hold the doctrine of generation. Both God and man, then, are responsible for the effects of what they command others to do. This is a fundamental thesis of the proponents of God's Justice. SUBSTITUTION . (badal) The determinists had two theses about human power, or ability (qudra and isti&ZCa being used interchangeably). First, they said ability exists not before, as the Mu'tazilites held, but only simultaneously with the act.2 Second, they said ability is determined to one of two contrarie~,~ and it does not, as the Mu'tazilites held, refer both to the act and its opposite. Thus a l - M ' a r i admits both that God has imposed on the unbeliever the moral obligation to believe, and that the unbeliever does not have the ability to b e l i e ~ e . ~ To this the objection is made that God is therefore imposing moral obligation upon one who is totally incapable ('Giz). This al-Ash'ari will not admit. He distinguishes between the man who is totally incapable and one who simply does not have the ability for a certain acc. The totally incapable person (al-'Q'iz) has ability neither for the act nor its opposite, while a person who has ability for an act is at that very moment doing the act and, being thus occupied, has no ability for the act's contrary. Thus, for example, a legless man is totally incapable ('rZjiz) as regards walking, for he can neither walk nor omit walking; a man without money is totally incapable as regards the poor-tax, for he can neither pay it nor refuse to pay. Al-Ash'ari asserts that God cannot (15 yajEz) command
1

a leglcss man to walk or a penniless man to pay thc poor-tax.' But the

unbeliever is not totally incapable ('k'jiz). Hc is already doing one of


two opposites. Ability being simultaneous wit11 the act and determined only to that act, the unbelievcr is said to be capable of unbelief but not, at that moment, capable of its opposite, belief. But having made the distinction between this state and total incapacity, the determinist maintains it is in some sense "possible" for belief to be present in the unbeliever's mind instead of his unbelief. How ? On the (unreal) condition that, instead of unbelief existing there, belief existed. 'Abd al-Jabb5r describes the argument : The connection of this with what went before [i.e., the notion of ability determined to only one act] is that when we urge upon the determinists the consequence of their thesis about determined ability : that morally obliging the unbeliever is like morally obliging the totally incapable (al-'ij'iz), they say: "Belief is possible on the unbeliever's part, on the condition that unbelief had not come to be in him and belief were there instead. This is different from the case of one who is totally incapable." So they allow the possibility of the substitute (al-badal) for what exists. This is not possible in our view.2 The Mu'tazilite argument was that when an act exists, it exists, and it is nonsense to say it might at present be otherwise. This led them to restrict severely the language they would allow. Al-Ash'ari relates that only al-IskHfi and Ja'far b. Harb among the Mu'tazilites would even allow a present contrary-to-fact condition to be used. Only those two would permit one to say, "If the infidels were believers, it would be good for them", explicitly adding that they were not allowing the possibility of the unbelievers' being at that moment believers. The other Mu'tazilites would not even permit that.3 The Mu'tazilite notion of ability is that it exists before the act and can be applied either to the act or its opposite. Thus they allow one to speak of the possibility of substitution in the future, but not in the present.
1

Awi'il, p. 86. AL-A~H'AR~, "al-Luma'," p. 54, No. 123; see supra, p. 168. a h-ASH'ARf, "al-L~ma',"pp. 55-56, NOS. 126-28. 4 Ibid., pp. 58-59, No. 135. "bid. ~ - B K Q & L A N makes the same distinction, al-Tamhid, ed. McCarthy, p. 294. ~
2

AL-A~H'AR~, "al-Luma'," pp. 59-60, Nos. 137-38. Sharb, pp. 417-18. Maqdlit, p. 244.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-LIHAIKH

AL-MUPID

JUSTICE

I n this view it makes no sense to say it is now possible for the unbeliever to be a believer. One can only talk about the future possibility of his becoming a believer. Al-Mufid's statement about substitution expresses the common Mu'tazilite position. He says:

expressions which the determinists commonly used to support their thesis. The expressions are those which show God putting a stamp and seal upon the hearts of unbe1ievers.l A l - M d d explains:

I say that unbelief might have existed in the time of faith instead of it, and that faith might have existed in the time of unbelief instead of it. I do not say in the moment of faith that unbelief can be there instead of it, nor that faith can be there in the moment -6FGinbelief instead of it. The reason for this is that allowing a thing means saying it is possible, asserting its feasibility, and denying it is impossible. Unbelief is the contradictory (mudddd) of faith. The existence of one contradictory excludes the possibility of the other contradictory's existence, just as it excludes its actual existence. So if someone says: belief instead of unbelief is possible on the unbeliever's part, he is implicitly associating two contradictories. But if he says, "was possible," putting the possibility in the past, that involves no contradiction. As for saying belief, instead of [reading badalan min for awqdt] unbelief, will be possible in the future on the unbeliever's part, that is not objectionable since the contradiction and inconsistency has been removed. There is no dispute between us and the determinists about the latter statement, but only about the first. The party of Justice holds this, and the party of coercion opposes it.l
Al-Mufid is saying, against the determinists, that while one alternative exists the opposite cannot be called presently possible. The possibility of substitution in the future is not at issue. For, according to the deter&&ts, God may in the future give the same man the ability to believe, and at that moment he will necessarily believe; according to the Muctazilites and al-Mufid, the man now has the ability both to believe and to disbelieve in the future.

I say that God's stamp and seal on [men's] hearts have a single meaning: witness against them that they are deliberately disregarding the divine message and, by their own choice and without coercion, not following right guidance. This is supported by common parlance. Haven't you heard the expression, "I have sealed upon so-and-so that he will not succeed"? That means: "I affirm it about him and publicly express it." And the stamp upon something is no more than the stamper's sign upon it. And since God's testimony upon something is a sign for His servants, it is fittingly called a stamp and a seal. This is consistent with the principles of the party of Justice. The various schools of determinists oppose it.2
PAINAND COMPENSATION . ('iwad) The actual distribution of suffering in the world gave rise to questions about God's Justice which the Muctazilites and those who agreed with them had to face and answer. They denied that the agent's own dignity or station determine whether his deed is just or Instead, said 'Abd al-JabbHr, justice and injustice are functions of the deed itself, its consequences, and the deserts of the person to whom the deed is done. Injustice is "anything harmful (mudirr) which does not, or is not thought to, entail a greater advantage (nay) or prevent a greater harm (madarra), and is not deserved or thought to be deserved."4 Pain is sometimes good and sometimes bad. I t is good, 'Abd alJabbZr says, only when "it really or putatively entails a greater advantage See, for example, Quran, 2:7; 6:46; 45:23; 63:3; and AL-ASH'AR~, al-Ibina, 57-58. Awd'il, p. 95. For ' , b AL-JABBAR'S treatment of the seal, see his Mutashi6ih ~ al-Qurytin,ed. 'AdnHn M. Zarziir (Cairo: DHr al-turHth. 1969). I. 51-54. ,, , ' h AL-JABBAR, p. 483. What is being rejected here is a thesis like that ~ Sharjl, of AL-A~H'AR~,nothing God does is unjust simply because He is supreme. See that "al-Luma'," p. 7 1, No. 170. Al-Mughni, XIII, 298.
. 1

THESTAMP AND

THE

SEAL(al-tabc wal-khatm).

pp.

I n connection with man's freedom to change from unbelief to belief, al-Mufid must explain in a non-determinist sense some quranic
1

Awi'il, pp. 87-88.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

or prevents a greater harm, or is deserved."l However, it is unworthy of God to inflict pain upon mere supposition, since He is all-knowing. Nor does it become Him to inflict pain in order to ward off greater harm, for God is always able to choose another way of preventing evil.2 So God may inflict pain on a man either so that the man can attain a greater benefit or because the man deserves the pain. Prominent among the benefits from pain is its value as a lesson (i'tibir). Undeserved pain can be given both to those who are under moral obligation as a lesson to themselves and others, and to those who are not under obligation - such as infants - in order to give a lesson to others. Both classes of victims must be compensated. 'Abd al-Jabb5r says :

in certain cases pain may be the only means possible, but he will not go so far as to maintain that in all instances where God gives pain for a future benefit this must be so. Instead he defends the justice of God's prerogative of choosing whether to confer a benefit through pain or some other means.l Al-MufId agrees that there must be a justifying reason for pain over and above the mere assurance that compensation will be given for it. But probably because he holds, with the Baghdadis, that God must do what is in men's best interests, al-Mufid maintains that when God gives pain, it is because no other means could bring the same benefits He intends to confer. Al-Mufid says: On pain and pleasure; whether they are of equal benefit and advantage. I say that if pain and pleasure were of equal religious benefit and advantage to those who are under moral obligation, the Wise One could not give pain, but only pleasure. For in that case He would have no reason to give it [i.e., pain], except in order to make up for it later by compensation [using the alternate reading]. But the Eternal One can bestow as a pure favor the equivalent of anything He might, in that hypothetical case, have given as compensation. Besides, it is more in keeping with His generosity [reading jfidih instead of wujtidih] and kindness to give pleasure - which is nobler than pain - rather than pain, supposing what is nobler to be of equal benefit. This is the doctrine of many of the people of Justice. Opposed to it are a group of them and a11 the determinists.2 This disagreement with some of the "people of Justice'' is on the minor point of God's possible alternatives, which flows from different
1 See al-Mughni, XIII, 395-96. To the objection that God could just as well have accomplished His purpose by another means, 'Abd al-JabbHr answers: "It is not known that anything other than pain would be of equal benefit and give an equal lesson. Indeed it is quite possible that nothing can take its place." This answer is less than absolute, and the objector presses the point that God could, then, often use other means than pain. 'Abd al-Jabbir replies: "We have already explained in the chapter on lutf that it is not impossible for something else to take its place. But pain does not for that reason cease to be a good. God may choose between giving pain and doing something else, since both can be described as lu!J Awd'il, pp. 89-90.

All pain caused by God either affects one who is under moral obligation or one who is not. If it affects someone not under moral obligation, it has to be made up for by a compensation that exceeds it - and this saves it from being unjust. It must also contain a lesson for those who are under moral obligation - and this saves it from being purposeless. If God inflicts pain on someone who is under moral obligation, it must entail both compensation and a lesson. The lesson in this case may be for him [i.e. the victim] alone, for others, or both for him and others. However the Chief Qiq!i thought it unlikely that the lesson would be exclusively for others and not for the victim as well - he being the one most closely ~ o n c e r n e d . ~
In the last sentence Mgnakdim, the compiler of the Sharh al-qzil, is pointing out 'Abd al-JabbZr's precise opinion. 'Abd al-JabbHr has argued here that there must be a justifjring reason for God to inflict pain, over and above the mere assurance that He will in the future compensate the person afflicted. The justifying reason is some benefit which outweighs the pain. Could this benefit be conveyed by some other means than pain? 'Abd al-Jabb8r says that
1

Skarh, p. 484. Al-Mughni, XIII, 369; Sharb, p. 486. Shark, p. 485.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

views of God's obligation to see to the best interests of man. The important point is that both groups are opposed to the determinists, who would say that God need not act for a purpose and that He owes no compensation for what He does. Al-Mufid then gives his personal ,opinion that in certain cases God may inflict pain in this life without owing compensation for it. He says: On salutary pain without compensation. I say that making compensation for pain caused to one person for the benefit of another is worthy of God in justice - but obligatory upon Him only by reason of His generosity [reading jzidih instead of wujzidih] - when the victim is a believer. And when the beneficiary happens to be an unbeliever, then G.od is obliged in strict justice to compensate the victim. Hence too I say that no compensation at all is deserved [i.e., either from God's justice or generosity] when the victim happens to be an infidel. For pain that befalls him is simply for his chastisement and for his. own good - although it is possible that another person might be benefited too. This is the doctrine of someone among the partisans of Justice and irji' who denies [mutual] cancellation [$b@; i.e., of good and bad deeds]. Opposed to it are the.Baghdadi and Basran Mu'tazilites and all the determinists. I have made here a synthesis of principles which only I hold, without any of the other partisans of Justice and irji' agreeing with me. Its truth is clear to me, however, from reasoning. Those who are opposed have not made me feel lonely, since I have good arguments, and there is no loneliness where truth is concerned -praise be to God ! There are two points here which 'Abd al-Jabbiir would deny. The first is al-Mufid's supposition that God would give pain to an adult solely for the benefit of another person.%I t should be recalled that alMufid thought God is bound to act for man's best interests, and that in order to explain some of the evil in the world he had to say the "man"
1
2

whose best interests are being cared for must be considered as a collectivity. 'Abd al-Jabbiir had rejected this solution as unjust.l The second point with which 'Abd al-Jabbiir would disagree is al-Mufid's statement that pain inflicted on an infidel deserves no compensation since it is punishment due to him for his unbelief and may even help him to realize his own error. 'Abd al-Jabb5.r mentions that Abii 'Ali al-Jubbg'i viewed the pain God gives to infidels and grave sinners as both punishment and salutary trial (mihna). But, following Abii Hbhim, 'Abd al-Jabbiir disagrees and distinguishes trial, which is salutary and therefore to be borne with patience, from punishment, which is rather to be avoided and regretted. 'Abd al-Jabbir holds that this life is the time for salutary trial, while the next life is the time for giving what is deserved, either reward or punishment.= Pain in this life, he says, deserves compensation whether it is salutary or not.4 Al-Mufid had associated his thesis with the denial of the Muctazilite doctrine of the mutual cancellation (ihbq) of good and bad deeds. On the face of it, a thesis maintaining that a man's sins, if they outweigh his good deeds, cancel out any reward he has merited for the latter would seem hard to reconcile with the doctrine that God owes every man compensation for the pain he has suffered on earth. 'Abd al-Jabblr, however, says that compensation is compatible with punishment, whereas reward is not. This is because punishment involves blame and reward entails praise, but compensation is simply a deserved benefit involving no praise. I t is nothing but a payment. Furthermore, compensation is limited in duration, and so in the next world it can take the form of a temporary mitigation of the punishment due to a man damned forever to the Fire. 'Abd al-Jabbiir notes, however, that Abfi 'Ali had maintained that punishment does cancel out compensation.6 But Abfi 'Ali's notion of compensation was different. He held it was unlimited in durations6
1
2

Ibid., p. 90. This is clear from MHnakdim's comment on the passage quoted supra, p. 182.

See supra, p. 73, n. 1. Al-lVfugh~zi, XIII, 431. Ibid., p. 433. Ibid., p. 435. Ibid., p. 524. "bid., p. 508.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

And his notion of cancellation was also slightly different from that of AbG Hbhim and 'Abd al-JabbZr. l

Al-Mufid maintains that God owes in His generosity, not in His justice, compensation to dumb animals for the pains they have suffered. This is based on the thesis that God acts for the creatures' welfare, which in turn is based on the thesis that God Himself is in need of nothing. Here al-Mufid distinguishes clearly between the beasts' incapacity for reward and punishment and their right (or quasi-right, since it is a matter of God's generosity) to compensation. Al-Mufid says: O n compensation of beasts and their mutual retaliation. I say it is incumbent on God's generosity and nobility to compensate beasts for their sufferings in this world, whether the pain came from His action or another's. For He created them for their own good. But if He were to deprive them of compensation for their pain, that would mean He created them for their harm. Far is God above creating anything for its harm and torment and not for its advantage! None but an unjust fool would do this, whereas God is just, noble, wise, and knowing. As for retaliation (iqti@) against them, it is not fitting, for they are not subject to moral obligation or command, nor do they understand the evil of what is wrong. And retaliation is a kind of punishment. No one is wise [reading bi-hakimin for yahkumu] who punishes someone not morally responsible and forbidden to do evil. If it were permissible for some of them to retaliate against others, they could be punished for their crimes against one another, and they also would have to be rewarded for their good deeds to one another. A11 that is absurd. This is the doctrine of many of the party of Justice. Some of them have opposed it, as have some others. 'Abd al-JabbZr simply says that God must, in justice, compensate animals whose slaughter He has either ordered or made licit.g
1
2

Al-Mufid fully agrees with the Mu'tazilites that God is just and does no injustice, although He could if He wanted to. Man is free to choose and produce his own acts. Al-Mufid says that the will-act necessitates the external act and must precede it, while 'Abd al-JabbZr denies both these theses. For al-Mufid ability is nothing more than the agent's state of health, while 'Abd alJabbsr says it is an accident over and above this. Both theologians agree that a man is responsible for the indirect results of his actions, but the Baghdadi theory of generated effects, which al-Mufid defends, is more far-ranging than the Basran thesis. Both alMufid and 'Abd al-JabbZr deny the doctrine of substitution in present time. Al-Mufid holds that one reason for pain in the world is that certain of God's beneficial airns could not be accomplished without it. 'Abd alJabbZr will not go so far as to say God could not accomplish His purposes painlessly, but he agrees that the pain God causes must be justified by a greater benefit in the future. Both say God must compensate the victim of undeserved pain, but al-Mufid says obligation on God is from His generosity, while 'Abd al-Jabbiir says it is from His justice. Al-Mufid .holds that the benefit God intends to accomplish through suffering may be directed entirely to someone other than the victim, while 'Abd alJabbZr denies this. 'Abd al-Jabb5r holds that God is bound to compensate even an unbeliever for the pain he suffers in this life, and that the compensation due him is not cancelled out by the punishment he will receive. Al-Mufid denies both these theses. I n all of this al-Mufid is predictably arguing according to Baghdadi Mu'tazilite principles.

See infra, p. 261, and 'Abd al-Jabblr, Sharh, pp. 627-28. Awd'il, p. 91. Al-Mugl~ni,XIII, 452.

CHAPTER VIII

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

All the Mu'tazilites, with the exception of al-Naz~Bm and his followers, held some form of atomism. The origin of this atomism, or at least the precise manner and proportion in which its elements were taken from Greek and Indian philosophy, is still an open question. l The aim here is not to discuss the background of the atomism of the kalEm but to see how close al-Mufid was to the Mu'tazilite schools of Baghdad and Basra in atomism and in the related question of the essence of man. Muslim theologians spoke about physics with a view to its use in demonstrating that the world had a temporal beginning. This, in turn, was a premise in their proof of God's existence. Although al-Mufid's extant writings do not contain a demonstration of God's existence, it can be presumed that he had one much like 'Abd al-Jabbgr's, and that his own consideration of problems of physics was for its sake.

Al-Mufid's treatment of natural philosophy comes in a later section of the AwE'il al-maq8lEt on the "fine points of theology," which may have been originally a separate treatise. In most points he professes
1 M. HORTEN, Die Philosobhie des abti Raschid (Bonn : Hanstein, 1910), pp. iv-v, in sees Baghdad and Basra as the points of confluence of Greek and Indian cultures, PRETZL thinks that the main influence was with some Persian influence as well. 0. hellenistic gnosticism: "Die fruhislamische Atomenlehre," Der Islam, XIX (1931), 130. S. PINES admits the possibility of Indian influence but concludes that the proponents of that theory have not proved their case: Beitrage zur islamischen Atomenlehrs (Grafenhainichen: A. Heine, 1936), p. 122.

THE THEOLOOY OF AL-SIfAIKII AL-MUP~V

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

agreement with Abfi I-QZsim al-Balkhi, also known as al-Ka'bi. Some of the latter's views are known from a treatise by a hostile writer, AbU Rashid al-Nis5bfiri1. Abfi Rashid was a Mu'tazilite, originally of the Baghdad school, who later joined 'Abd al-Jabblr a. More than a simple statement of differences, his treatise is a polemic against the Baghdadi positions regarding atoms and accidents, arguing for the most part in favor of the doctrines of Aba Hlshim al-JubbB'i. The Baghdad position is represented exclusively by Abfi 1-Q5sim al-Balkhi. Another source of information on al-Balkhi's opinions is that portion of Ibn al-MurtadCs "al-Babr al-zakhkh5ry' which M. Horten has translated. 'Abd al-Jabbiir's own treatment of natural philosophy is rather sparse in the works of his which have been edited. I n the Sharh altqIIl al-khama4 and al-Muhit bil-taklifs he uses the doctrine of temporality of bodies and accidents in the course of his proof for God's existence. I n al-Mughni there is a short section on man." Besides these there are references to atomist theories in the Kitib al-intisir, and al-Ash'ari has much to say about them in his Maqilit. ATOMS. "Atoms (jawihir)," says al-Mufid, "are the parts (ajzci') of which bodies (ajsim) are composed and which themselves cannot be divided. All the believers in God's Unity hold this thesis except a few eccentric Mu'tazilites. Opposed to it are the atheists and, among those holding
1 "Kitiib al-masi'il f i 1-khilif bain al-Bagriyin wal-Baghdidiyin," Ms. Berlin: Glaser 23, Ahlwardt 5125. The first eighteen questions have been edited by A. BIRAM, as Die atomistische Substanzenlehre (Leiden: Brill, 1902). An abridged translation of the rest has made by M. HORTEN Die Philosophie des abti Raschid. in IBNAL-MURTAP~~, Tabaqit, p. 116. M. HORTEN, philosophischen Probleme der sfiekulativen Theologie im Islam (Bonn: Die Hanstein, 1910). This book consists mostly of passages translated from "al-Bahr alzakhkhlr" by Ibn al-Murtada. 4 Sharb, pp. 92-1 15. 6 Al-Mu&/, I, 36-103. 6 Al-Mughni, XI, 309-67.

God's Unity, Ibr5him b. SayyHr al-NazzZm."l Jawhar a t first meant substance or matter in the non-technical sense.2 I t later became synonymous withjuz' as the ordinary kakim word for atom, as al-Mufid defines it here. I n the philosophical tradition it was the usual word for the Aristotelian notion of substance. Probably al-Mufid had the philosophers in mind when he said that the atheists denied his doctrine. AlNaz?;8m held that thejuz' is infinitely divisible, and so there is no such thing as an atom.8 "Atoms are all homogeneous, differing only in their accidents. The great majority of the believers in God's Unity," says al-Mufid, "hold this."4 Al-Mufid has claimed majority rather than universal agreement among the Mu'tazilites, for al-Na?:zBm of course did not hold it,6 and al-Balkhi thought it possible for atoms to be different. Ibn al-MurtadZ relates that al-Balkhi said atoms are partly different. 7 Al-Mufid goes on to treat of the extension of atoms: Whether atoms have in themselves magnitude (misiha) and dimensions (aqdir) I say that an atom has in itself quantity (qadar) and bulk (hajm), because of which it has actual extension (hayyiz), and whereby it is distinguished from everything that is not an atom. This is the thesis of most believers in God's unit^.^

Here al-Mufid is saying, with the Basrans, that atoms are not mere points with nothing but position. They are each extended in space prior to, or independently of, combination with other atoms.

11, 493-4. AL-ASH'AR~, Maq(ikit, P. 318. Awi'il, p. 73. AL-ASH'ARI, Maqhtcit, p. 309. BIRAM, text, p. 2; see also commentarv. D. 18. ,, ' HORTEN, h ~ h<,,lnrn=s p. 222, citing Ibn- 'al-Murtada, "Al-Bahr al-zakhkhir Probleme, al-;im;~ - m l ~ ~; ;h nl-smo- n .* ,* =r
A
90.

' PINES, 3-4. See also S. VAN DEN BERGH, pp. "Djawhar," E.I.',

Awci'il, pp. 72-73.

'fl.

-. ---

NATUR4L PHILOSOPHY

Abii Rashid states the Basran thesis that every atom has a certain amount of extension (miszha), and he defines mis6ha as "the special attribute because of which atoms augment in size by being joined together."' This is exactly the same definition he gives elsewhere for bayyiz.a Abii Rashid mentions that al-Balkhi has denied this thesis, implying that extension accrues to atoms only when they are combined.' The extension of atoms, then, is a thesis in which al-Mufid did not follow al-Balkhi, although he did not mention that he was departing from al-Balkhi here. Al-Mufid continues with his next thesis: On the extension (hayyiz) of atoms and the forms of being (akwln). I say that each atom has real extension (hayyiz fi 1-wujzld) and is never without an accident which puts it into a relationship of some sort with what is next to it (al-muhldhiylt). Some theologians call this accident kawn. Al-Mufid is here referring to the basic qualifications (kawn, pl. atwin) by which an atom exists either at rest or in motion, joined to others or separate. 'Abd al-JabbZr explains that at the moment it begins to exist, an atom is given the attribute of being (kawn) in the absolute sense. But at the next moment, according to whether it is in the same position (jiha) as it was the moment before, it is said to be either at rest or in motion. And according to whether it is in contact with other atoms or separated from them, either juncture or distance is attributed to it. Extension in space is the reason why an atom can be either in motion or at rest, joined or separate. Hence the attribute kl'in is given only to that atom which occupies space.@
1

Al-Balkhi, whom al-Mufid follows, has a different notion of place from the Basrans. And the root of this difference is their disagreement about the existence of the vacuum. Al-Mufid says: Whether atoms need place. Atoms as such do not need place, but only insofar as they have motion and rest. For motion and rest they must have place. All believers in God's Unity hold that atoms do not need place. Most of them say they need it for motion and rest. Against this is the opinion of al-JubbZ'i and his son 'Abd al-SalZm. Abii Rashid names al-Balkhi as denying the Basran thesis that a body can move without being in place. Each side in this dispute is supposing its own definition of place. Al-Mufid defines it:

I say that place is what encloses a thing on all its sides, and that atoms cannot move except in places. This is the doctrine of Abii 1-QSsim and other Baghdadis and most of the early theologians. Opposing it are al-JubbS'i and his son, the Nawbakhtis, and the determinist and anthropomorphist theologians. 8
Against this definition of place as the ambient surface, Abii Rashid says the Basrans define it as "that on which a heavy body rests its weight and whose support keeps it from falling."' The surrounding air, Abii Rashid goes on to say, cannot be considered a place because it is not stable. But if there were only one heavy body in existence, that body, having nothing to rest upon and therefore not being in place, would nonetheless be falling. The basis of this difference is that the Basrans held that a void exists, while al-Balkhi denied it. If there is no such thing as a void,
Awi'il, pp. 76-77. HORTEN, Philosojhie, p. 139, citing fol. 94a. Awi'il, p. 82. HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 138, citing fol. 92b.

6 6

BIRAM, 39. p. Ibid., p. 42. Ibid., p. 38. AwZ'il, p. 74. Al-Mt~bi!,I , 41. Stiarh, p. 176.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

NATURAI. PAILOSOPIIY

then a body is always touching the surface of other objects surrounding it. If there is a void, then a body need not be touching things on all sides, and the best one can say in answer to the question, "Where is it?" is to indicate what it rests upon if it is at rest. The doctrine of the void was widespread in later kalGm, and Pines suggests that it was due to the influence of Muhammad b. ZakariyyB' al-Rbi. 1 Al-Mufid declares himself against the existence of the void:

1say that the world is full of atoms and there is no vacant space in it. Were there vacant space in it, there could be no difference between joined and separate atoms and bodies. This is the doctrine especially of Abii 1-Qiisim among the Baghdadis, and it is the doctrine of most of the older theologians. Opposed to it are al-Jubbii'i and his son, a mass of the ignorant traditionist theologians, and the party of determinism and anthropom~rphism.~
The reason al-Mufid gives for the impossibility of a void (that there could be no difference between joined and separate atoms) is puzzling at first sight. His editor, in fact, thinks the text must be garbled and that al-Mufid is really asserting the existence of a void, since his argument seems to prove that conclusion.3 I t is certains, however, that al-Mufid meant to deny the existence of the void, since he says he is following al-Balkhi, who undoubtedly did deny it, against al-Jubbii'i and his son, who certainly did hold it.* The reason al-Mufid advanced may refer to the problems raised in the objections Abii Rashid quotes and answers against the Basran thesis of the existence of the void. The first objection says that if there is not third atom between two separate atoms, then these two cannot be said to be closer or nearer to each other than any other pair of separate atoms. The reason is that there would be nothing between them whereby the distance could be m e a s ~ r e d . ~
PINES, 79. p. Awd'il, p. 81. 8 Zbid., n. 1. 4 BIRAM, 24. For Abii HHshim, ibid., p. 29. For al-Balkhi, see HORTEN, p. Probleme, p. 105, clting fol. 28a. 6 BIRAM, p. 30. The exact wording is: "If two atoms were separate without a
a

The second objcctioll is that if wc observe a distance bctwecn two substances, that distance must bc something existing, for only thc existrnt can be observed. So, instead of a void, there must be a third atom or body intervening between two separate atoms which makes them to be separateel Both arguments suppose that the void is simple nonexistence. If, the arguments say, there is nothing at a11 (i.e., the void) between two atoms, they must be adjacent. And this seems to be the line of argument that led al-Mufid to say that if there were a void, there would be no difference between joined and separate atoms and bodies.

Al-Mufid denies that God continuously re-creates the world and bodies at every moment. He says:

I say that atoms are able to endure and that they exist for many moments. They disappear from the world only by the removal of permanence from them. Most of the believers in God's Unity hold this thesis. Abti 1-Qkim al-Balkhi holds it. Differing from us as to the reason for their ceasing to be [using the editor's variant and omitting the maw] are al-Jubbii'i and his son, the Nawbakhtis among the Imamites, and those who follow them in this matter.2
Abii Rashid says that Abii 1-Qssim holds, "a substance continues in existence by a permanence inhering in it."3 And to this he opposes
third being between them, there would be nothing to prevent one's saying that the space or distance between this pair of atoms is less than that between another pair, or more, or equal. What is said to be more, less, or equal to another must be a subsistent thing. The proof of this is that one can say the distance between two atoms is a cubit's length or a fathom's length. And what can be measured by a cubit or a fathom must be a subsistent body or subsistent atom." Zbid., p. 31. The exact wording is: "When we observe two separate atoms, we must perceive their separation. And that can appear only by our observing a space between them. And perception cannot be had of what is non-existent. And observing two separate atoms without observing the space between them is unthinkable. So the space must be by some third intervening between them. So from this viewpoint the void cannot be asserted to exist." a Awd'il, pp. 75-76. p. BIRAM, 59.

TIIE TIIEOLOOY OF A1,-SIIAIK11

A[.-MUP~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

the Basran thesis that permanence is simply continuance in exist(!~:llce, for which the subject needs no additional attribute like baqaY1. AlNa@m excluded, both the Baghdad and the Basran Mu'tazilites agree that atoms have permanent existence. They differ only as to whether or atoms have a quality called ccpermanenceyy not.

Opposite to the problem of permanence is that of the nonexistent. Is the nonexistent something? Al-Mufid says:

1 say that the nonexistent is that whose individual essence


!

('ain) is negated and to which the attribute ccexistent" does not apply. I do not say it is literally (hapigatan) body, atom, accident, or thing. If you call it by any of these names, you are only calling it so figuratively (maj8zan). This is the doctrine of a group of the Baghdad school of Muctazilites and the partisans of [divinely] created [human acts]. Al-Balkhi claims that it is a thing. He calls it neither body nor atom nor accident. Al-Jubbl'i and his son claim that the nonexistent is a thing, atom, and accident. Al-KhayyHt claims it is a thing, accident, and body.

Abfi 'Ali al-JubbHYi -was the first to conclude that the nonexistent can be called a thing. l Abfi 'Ali adopted his teacher's thesis, as did most other Muctazilites, both Baghdadi and Basran, after al-ShabbHm. Even al-Ash'ari in his Mu'tazilite days held this doctrine and wrote a treatise supporting it. After he abandoned Muctazilism he repudiated his treatise and probably based his new position on a literal interpretation of such quranic texts as, "I created you, whereas before you were not a thing." This set the tone for Sunnite theologians after him. Al-BHqillHni has a thesis that "the nonexistent is neither determined (muthbat) nor a thing." "Thing" for the Ashcarites is synonymous with the existent. Although al-ShabbHmYs thesis became common Muctazilitedoctrine after him, it met some opposition during his own lifetime. His older contemporary and fellow pupil of Abii 1-Hudhail, HishHm al-Fuwati., . agreed that what God knows must be something, but he had a different second premise: that "something" means "existent." This led him to conclude that God has eternally known Himself, but not other things. According to al-.4shCari: When he was asked, "Does God forever know things?" he replied, "I do not say He eternally knows things. I do say He eternally knows He is one and there is no second with Him. But if I say He eternally knows things, I am asserting things to be eternal with God." And when he was asked, "Do you say God eternally knows that things will be?" he replied, "When I say that they will be, this is pointing to them. But only the existent can be pointed to." Nor wouId he caI1 what God had not yet created a "thing." But he would call what God had created and annihilated a "thing" even while it was nonexistent. ti
See AL-SHAHRAST-i, Nihdyat al-iqddm fi 'ilm al-kakdm, ed. A. Guillaume (reprint; Baghdad: al-Muthanna, n.d.), p. 151. For a discussion of the whole question, see VANESS,Erkennfnislehre, I9 1-200. MCCARTHY, 221-22, No. 49 in the list of al-Ash'ari's works. pp. Quran, 19:9. Al-Tamhid, ed. al-Khudhairi, p. 40. Maqdldt, p. 158. Ibid., p. 488, says the same.

I n support of his thesis al-Mufid names only the Ash'arite theologians and "a group" of Baghdad Mu'tazilites. The common Mu'tazilite position in al-Mufid's time was that the nonexistent can be called a thing. The origin of the problem was a question about God's knowledge. How does God know about creatures before he creates them? Reasoning, it seems, from two premises: that what God knows must be something (shai') rather than nothing, and that God must know what He will or can create, a Basran Mu'tazilite, Abfi Ya'qiib Yiisuf b. 'Abd AllHh b. IsbHq al-Shahhlm - a pupil of Abfi 1-Hudhail and teacher, in turn, of
Ibid. A L - ~ H ' A R ~ , Maqdldt, p. 367, says the same. Awd'il, p. 79. 8 PINES, 117, thinks, however, that the content and formulation of this problem p. came from the Stoics.
1

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

Early in the Awci'il al-Mufid had strongly asserted that God knows all that is future and possible in heaven and on earth - both what will be and what will never be - and that nothing is hidden from Him.l Then he continued: With us in what we say in this matter are all believers in God's Unity except the determinist al-Jahm b. SafwHn and the Muctazilite Hishiim b. 'Amr al-Fuwati. These two claimed that knowledge cannot be connected with the nonexistent but attains only what exists, and that if God knew things before they existed, the test on His part would not be fair.2 Al-Mufid on the one hand agrees with al-Fuwafi that what does not yet exist is not a thing, and on the other hand rejects his conclusion that God is ignorant of the future. Al-Mufid may mean that while the nonexistent is neither substance, accident, body, nor thing, it does have some sort of conceptual (he said "figurative") being as an object at least of God's knowledge .(as macltim) and power (as maqdiir). This may be related to a remark of al-Mufid's about a doubtful tradition which said God created the souls of men two thousand years before creating the world. After rejecting the tradition outright as poorly authenticated, al-Mufid offers a possible interpretation that would be acceptable : God designed the souls in His own mind before creating bodies. He emphatically denies however the possibility that the souls really existed before bodies were created for them. Who were the Baghdad Mu'tazilites that al-Mufid claimed for his side? Abii 1-Husain Muhammad b. Muslim al-SHlihi agreed with the Ash'arites- and so with al-Mufid as well- that the nonexistent is not
Awd'il, pp, 2 1-22, quoted supra, p. 143, n. 5. Zbid., p. 22. The reason given in the last clause comes only &om the Ivlu'tazilite al-Fuwati. Al-Jahm, being a determinist, was not concerned that the test men undergo should be fair. Al-Mufid neglects to mention here that the early Imamite theoIogian, Hishlm b. al-vakam, drew the same conclusion as al-Fuwafi. See AL-ASH'AR~, Maqcilcit, p. 494. 3 "Al-Sarawiyya," p. 50. The text says, qaddar al-arwlh fi 'amalih, but it seems necessary to read the last word as 'ilmih, to fit the context. On this passage see also infra, p. 364.
1

a thing.l But his solution to the problem of God's knowing what He will create was to link future beings with the time they exist - or will exist. God sees the future as about to exist in its own time. According to al-Ashcari: Abfi 1-Husain al-Siilibi said God forever knows things in their own times and forever knows they will be in their own times. And He forever knows bodies in their own times and creatures in their own times. And he said: nothing is known but the existent. What is devoid of existence (al-macdiimGt)is not said to be known, nor should what has not been be called potential (maqdiir, i.e., an object of God's power). Things are called things only when they exist, and they are not called things when they are devoid of existence. The weakness of this solution is that it makes God ignorant of what is merely possible: what might be but never in fact will be. Al-Mufid differs here from al-Siilibi in that he plainly said God knows everything, even what can be but never will. Al-Mufid's solution allowed the nonexistent to be called a thing in a figurative sense (majizan). Actually this was also the position of a Basran Muctazilite contemporary of al-Mufid, Abfi IshHq al-Nasibini (or al-Nasibi): that the word "thing" is applied literally (haqiqatan) to the existent and figuratively (majzzan) to the n~nexistent.~ this And thesis later became attached as well to Abfi 1-Husain al-Basri, who lived a generation after al-Mufid. I t does( not differ essentially from the ~ Ash'arite p o ~ i t i o n .To which Baghdadi hlu'tazilites al-Mufid was referring when he claimed a group of them for his side, remains however a mystery.
'ABD AL-Q~HIRB A O H Dal-Furq bain a6$raqJ p. 108. Al-SHlibi was a AL~~, Basran who moved to Baghdad, debated with al-Khayylf, and gathered a circle of disciples there. See IBN AL-MURTA~A,72; AL-SAP AD^, Das Biographische Lexicon dcs p. Salcibaddin Khalil Ibn Aibak as-Safadi, V, ed. S. Dedering ("Bibliotheca Islamica," 6e; Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1970), p. 27, No. 1993. a MaqZLZt, p. 158. ! AL-JURJAN~, Sharh al-Mawciqif lil-'Allcima 'Adud al-Din 'Abd al-Rahmcin b. Ahmad al-fji (Istanbul: D l r al-tibPLa1-'amira, 1292 H.), 1, 232. Al-Nigibini was a pupil of Abi~ 'Abd Alllh al-Bqri (d. 3671977-78). See IBN AL-MURTAPA, 114. p. AL-JUWAIN~, al-Shdmilfi ylSl al-din (Cairo: D l r al-'arab, n.d.), I, 42, acknowledges this.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

doctrine, but only the objections which al-Balkhi brings against the Basran thesis. l Al-Ashcari however gives this argument: The complement of the atom, or substance, is the accident ('arad). Al-Mufid says : Some said: accidents do not endure two moments (waqtain), because the permanent is either permanent of itself or by [an accident of] permanence in it. But they cannot be permanent of themselves, for this would necessitate their being permanent in the moment of their coming-to-be. Nor can they be permanent by a permanence produced in them, for they do not sustain accidents. Holders of this thesis were Ahmad b. 'Ali al-Shatawi, Aba 1-Qkim al-Balkhi, and Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah b. Mumallak alIsbahHni.2 The argument rests upon the axiom common among the theologians that accidents do not have accidents of their own. This Baghdadi thesis that accidents do not remain two moments made for a sharp distinction of beings into substance and accidents, with the difference between them that one has no permanence of its own and so must be constantly renewed. This thesis, when coupled with the Baghdadis' other theses that substance needs accidents to exist and that substance remains in existence because it has permanence - which must itself be an accident furnishes all the ingredients for the Ash'arite doctrine of continuous re-creation of all beings. Al-Mufid too holds all these theses, but neither he nor the Baghdadis drew the conclusion of continuous re-creation. Since the Basrans denied the first and third theses, the doctrine of continuous re-creation is not logically connected with their position.* Since accidents do not last, there is no place for a doctrine of change and restoration of accidents in the Baghdadi scheme. Al-Mufid continues :
HORTEN, Philosophie, pp. 83-88, citing fol. 52a-53a. Maqcilcit, p. 358. 8 This axiom, PINES points out (pp. 24, 114), did not come from Greek philosophy. In fact it is a fundamental point of difference between the Greek-inspired /k!&tya and the theologians. The axiom comes from Indian philosophy. 4 This account, of course, excludes the Basran al-Na~zLrn, the enemy of atomism who nevertheless held that substances are re-created each moment by God.
1

I say that every accident can inhere in an atom, and the atom is the supporter of its existence. And [the atom] cannot do without it or the [other] accidents that take its place. This is the doctrine of Abii I-QHsim al-Balkhi, Abii 'Ali alJubbH'i, and many theologians before them. Opposed to it is 'Abd al-SalHm b. Muhammad al-Jubbg'i. He thought it possible for atoms to be without color, taste, smell, and suchlike accidents.l
A b i Rashid supports Abii HLhim al-JubbPi against A b i 'Ali and al-Balkhi in the thesis that an atom can exist without every one of its accidents except kawn. Abii Rashid argues that the notion of atom (i.e. substance) is other than the notion of color, that there are in fact colorless substances, such as air and water, and since substances which sometimes have the accident of sound may at other times lack it, the case must be the same for color.3 Al-Mufid explains change by the non-permanence of accidents. He says:

I say that accidents are entities (maCLi)which need substrates for their existence. None of them can have permanence. This is the doctrine of most Baghdadis. Opposed to it are the Basrans and other dissident thinkers.
A b i Rashid maintains the doctrine he attributes to Abii HHshim: that colors6 and the basic accidents of motion and rest, juncture and separation ( e . the akwin) are permanent until displaced by their opposites. Abii Rashid does not give the reasoning behind the Baghdadi
Awci'il, pp. 74-75. BIRAM, 44. Biram explains in commentary, p. 55, that kawn here means p. the foundation of the four akwin: motion, rest, juncture, and separation. 8 Zbid., pp. 44-45. On p. 43 he says: "Our shaikh Abii 1-Qgsim denies that a substance can be without color, taste, odor, heat, cold, wetness, and dryness." 4 Awci'il, p. 78. On the meaning of macni, sea supra, p. 134, n. 1. BIRAM, p. 50.
1

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

On change and restoration of accidents. I sav that is impossible. But the proofs of its impossibility are too iengthy to recount. This is the doctrine of AbO I-QHsim and all the believers in God's Unity who deny the permanence of accidents.' The Basrans, since they held that accidents endure just as bodies endure, asked the question of the restoration of substance and accidents in connection with the resurrection.' 'Abd al-JabbL first establishes that it is within God's power to restore substance just as it is within His power to annihilate it. Then he goes on to argue that the fundamental accidents too (al-akwzn) can be restored. Evidently the presupposition here is different from the question al-Mufid had in mind, for al-Mufid that accidents of the person to be rewarded or punished in the next life had never remained the same from one moment to the next during his former life, and so there is no point or possibility of having the same accidents restored to him when his body is reconstituted at the resurrection.

need of general or particular time means that while the movement of the heavens is the measure of other things, it is not measured by anything more universal than itself. This corresponds to the second of three notions of time mentioned by al-Ashcari, the one which he attributes to Abii 'Ali al-JubbH'i. AlAshcari says : They differed about time (waqt). Some said: time is the difference between acts, it being the interval extending from one act to another, and an action ( i l is produced with every time (waqt). This j') is Abii I-Hudhail's thesis. Others said : time is what you set for a thing. So if you say, "I shall go to you when Zaid arrives," you have made Zaid's arrival the time of your going. And they claim that the times (al-awqzt) are the movements of the celestial sphere, for God must have set them as times for things. This is the thesis of al-JubbH'i. And others said: time is an accident. We do not say what it is, nor do we hesitate about its rea1ity.l What al-Mufid calls zan6n al-Ash'ari designates as awqzt in his account of al-JubbH'i's theory. But it is clear that both of them mean to give a unique and universal status to the movements of the celestial sphere as the measure for other events. 'Abd al-JabbHr's definition of time also corresponds to al-JubbH'i's. 'Abd al-JabbHr says, "Time (waqt) is every occurrence or equivalent of an occurrence by which someone knows the occurrence of something else with it." He explains that "occurrence" (hidith) is opposed to the permanent. One cannot say, "I'll come to you when the heavens," or "when the earth," for the heavens and the earth are permanent. The < c equivalent of an occurrence" might be a cessation rather than anything positive. One can say, for example, "I'll come when it stops raining." This notion of time is the same as al-Mufid's. When the latter specified that time "is not a special occurrence," he meant, from the context, that it was simply an ordinary event picked out by the observer as a point on a scale coinciding with the event he wished to time.

TIME.
Time is mentioned briefly by al-Mufid, who points out that it is neither substance nor accident and'has no existence of its own, being assigned arbitrarily by the mind. Al-Mufid says:

I say that particular time (waqt) is what the timekeeper makes


to be time for something. I t is not a special occurrence. And general time (=amin) is a name given to the movement of the celestial sphere. Hence the celestial sphere has no need in its existence for either particular time or general time. All the believers in God's Unity hold this thesis.' That the "when" is not a particular occurrence means that it has no existence of itself. It is simply any event chosen by the observer to fix another event on a scale. Saying that the celestial sphere has no
1
9

Awii'il, p. 78. 'ABD AL-JABBAR, al-Mughni, XI, 451-81. Awi'il, p. 82.

TIiE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

I n practice, however, both al-Mufid and 'Abd al-Jabblr use waqt to designate a particular moment or unit of duration, not a point. So al-Mufid says that a substance has permanence, which means that endures "for many moments" (awqlilan kathira). And 'Abd al-JabbPr says that the command should precede the act by some length of time, which he too calls "many moments" (awqdtan kathira). 2 This double notion of time is evident in two answers al-Mufid gives to a philosopher's objection. The philosopher has said that if creation had a beginning and God created one thing after another, then a partner called Time was with God. The philosopher's aim, of course, is not to prove that a being called Time existed with God, but to attack the theologians' doctrine that the world had a beginning before which God was alone. Al-Mufid's first answer makes use of the notion that time is only an invention of the timekeeper: a name given to the movement of the celestial sphere or to some other measurement. And so before that was created, there was ho time. Al-Mufid says: God was forever one, nothing with Him. And He had no second. What He produced He began not in time (fi ghairi zamdn). Nor is it necessary, if He produced things after the first, [to say] He produced them in time. And even if He had made a time for them, the eternity of time does not logically follow from that, for time is the movements of the celestial spheres, or what takes their place, according to their measure in fixing time (taqwit). So how does it follow, according to this philosopher, that time is eternal, from the fact that things were not [all] brought into existence at one stroke unless it be that he does not understand the meaning of time?3 But in his second answer to the same objection, al-Mufid sees time as composed of discrete units of duration. I t is possible, says alMufid, for God to act between these units. Such actions do not take place in time. If the philosopher will not admit atemporal intervals
1
8 8
,

betwccn moments, al-Mufid tries to pus11 Iiim into the position of saying everything must be simultaneous. Al-Mufid says: But let it be said to one who supposes that acts occur only in time: tell us about what is between two connected times (zamdnain muttasilain). Is it time or not time? If they say, "Time," they have spoken inconsistently, having made a division [reading fa;lan for fa&an] between the two when the question was about something else [i.e., about muttasil, excluding fa~l]. And if they say, "There is no time between them," they are admitting the possibility of an act not in time. And if they claim that time is one thing, with no part coming before another, they are supposing that what existed in the year 400 after the hijra had been existent in the first year of the hijra; and what existed initially in the age of Adam is beginning in the age of the Prophet; and that the time of Adam is the time of Muhammad. This is obviously stupid.' When certain of al-Mufid's remarks about motion are examined below, these discrete units of duration will be seen to be atomic.

Atoms join one another to make bodies. Of these al-Mufid says: I say that bodies are atoms composed in length, width, and depth. The least number of atoms composing bodies is eight: one above its mate for length, two near these on the left and right making width, and four joining these four to make depth. Several theologians hold this thesis. Agroup has claimed that a body is composed of six atoms; others said it is composed of four atoms. And some have said that the essence of body is to be composed and this can be from two atoms - and thus bodies are of the class of what is permanent. But in my view, the composition and all the accidents are not permanent. This is the doctrine of Abfi 1-Q5sim al-Balkhi and a number of his Baghdadi predecessors. None of the believers in God's Unity has opposed this thesis on the permanence of bodies except alNa??2m, who claimed they are renewed from moment to moment. a
1

AwZ'il, p. 75. Al-Mughnf, XI, 304. Al-' Ukbariyya, Q. 17.

Ibid.

Awd'il, p.

II . '

NATURAL PIIILOSOPI-IY

The question of thc pcrmanence of bodies is related to what has been seen about the permanence of accidents. Al-Mufid held that no accidents are permanent. The Basrans, however, held that the basic accidents, one of which is composition, are permanent and remain until displaced by their opposites. Hence in the Basran view the atoms which compose a body are permanently joined. If it takes eight atoms to make a three-dimensional body, then atoms themselves do not have three dimensions. Abii Rashid did not go into the question of how many atoms make up a body presumably because, belonging to the Basran school, he attributed a kind of extension to atoms.1 Abii Rashid named al-Balkhi as an adversary to Abii H5shimYs thesis that every atom has some extension.= Therefore al-Balkhi might be expected to concern himself with the least number of atoms required to compose a three-dimensional body. And in fact al-Balkhi does hold that the number is four: three atoms on one plane and one above them.S Al-Mufid, however, had said that individual atoms are e ~ t e n d e d , ~ yet here he also concerns himself with the problem of the least number of atoms required to form three dimensions. Al-Mufid has fallen here into the inconsistency that can be the lot of an eclectic. If he had held, with al-Balkhi, that atoms acquire extension only when they are united in a body, then he could consistently follow al-Balkhi in asking how many atoms are necessary to form that body.

be able to move on its own without the whole body moving. If, on the other hand, one were to say that extension is a property only of the body, not of single atoms, then the movement of one part would mean the same as the movement of the whole. Al-Mufid says: On bodies: whether it is true that the whole moves with the movement of the part. 1 say it is not true, just as it is not true that the whole is black by the blackness of its part, nor is white, nor is joined or separate. And also because the moving is what traverses two places, and it is impossible for the stationary to be traversing. This is the doctrine of a large number of the people of reason. And many of them have opposed it too. I t is the doctrine of Abii 1-Qgsim al-Balkhi and other ancients. l Al-Mufid has given two reasons for this thesis, both taken from everyday linguistic denomination: one does not call a whole body black just because a part of it is black, and it is impossible for something to be both moving and at rest. Al-Mufid furthermore has said he is in agreement with al-Balkhi. Ibn al-Murtad5, however, reports that this is not al-Balkhi's doctrine. He says: When a body moves, movement inheres in all its substance (all its atoms). Al-'All5f and al-Kacbi, however, teach: "The whole... moves by the movement of one part." Most philosophers teach: "If a body is in motion, its inner as well as its outer part is moving." Against this al-Ka'bi teaches: '<No! Only the outer surface moves - not the inner, because we do not know its place."Z Al-Balkhi's notion of place as the ambient surface has determined what he says about movement. He held, against the Basran notion of place as what a body rests upon, that place is the surface of the ambient.3 Ibid., p. 107. HORTEN, Probleme, p. 89, citing fol. 28b. HORTEN, Philosolhie, p. 138, citing fol. 92b.

Al-Mufid's initial agreement with the Basrans that atoms have extension may be the reason for his thesis that the whole body does not move with the movement of one atom or part. In his view, each atom has its own extension; hence each extended part of a body should .
1 PINES, 6 , remarks that this was probably the reason the Basrans did not p. concern themselves with this question. He doubts, however, that the concept of atoms as mere points was yet quite thought out among the theologians, who lacked the acquaintance with the Greeks which the philosophers had. 2 BIRAM, 38. . p. HORTEN, Probleme, p. 22 1, citing fol. 27. 4 Awi'il, p. 74.

a
8

THE THEOLOGY OP AL-SHAIM AL-MUP~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

In this al-Mufid agrees with him.1 Both al-Balkhia and al-Mufid3 say that being in place is a necessary condition for a body's movement. And a moving object is described by al-Mufid as "what traverses two places."* Rigidly consistent with these premises, al-Balkhi answers the question whether the whole of a moving body moves or only its outer surface. Seeing that movement is a change of place, and that place is the immediate surrounding body, al-Balkhi concludes that only the outer surface of the moving body moves. The ambient surface of the inside of the body is the outer surface, which remains the same for it throughout the whole body's movement. And therefore it is not required that all parts of a moving body be in motion. Al-Balkhi is consistent with his premises within his system. AlMufid is not and appeals to arguments from common sense. The root of the difference lies in al-Mufid's agreement with the Basrans against al-BaIkhi (notwithstanding al-Mufid's claim that al-Balkhi agreed) that each atom in a body has its own extension. A body in which each part has its own extension is an aggregate and can be said to move only when all its parts move. Hence despite all he has said in agreement with al-Balkhi about the definition of place and the meaning of movement, al-Mdid must again part company with the Baghdad Muctazilite in favor of the Basran school, holding that when a body moves all its parts must move. O n another question, whether there can be two movements in the same atom at the same time, al-Mufid agrees with al-Balkhi against the Basrans. Al-Mufid says: On the single atom: whether two movements can exist in it at the same time (waqt). I say it is impossible, for the reason that one movement necessitates' a body's emergence from its place to what is next to it, and if there were two movements in it, then either it would traverse two places at one time (hdla) - which is impossible - or it would traverse
1

one place, and the other movement would have no effect. And that is impossible too. Nor is there any sense in the thesis that would claim that their combined effect consists in its swiftness in traversing the place, for swiftness is only in the successive traversing of places, not in a single traversing of a single place. This is the doctrine of Abfi 1-QHsim and a great number of people of reason. Opposed to it have been a group of Mu'tazilites and a crowd of people of ign0rance.l This time al-Mufid is correct in claiming al-Balkhi for his side. Abfi Rashid reports his difference from Abfi HHshim on this point: Al-Kacbi teaches in his Dtfferences: "when two agents move an atom in one direction, they form one mover. For two movers cannot inhere together in one substrate. According to Abfi HHshim, each of them produces its own movement. The difference is only a verbal dispute. Each mover, taken by itself, does not move the object. Hence the movement produced is single. The question is not so important for itself as for what it leads alMufid to say about his doctrine of motion and its relation to time. Al-Mufid states a corollary to his previous thesis: On motions: whether some of them can be quicker (akhaff) than others. I say it is impossible, for the reason we have given in disproving that two movements can be in the same atom at the same moment (hdl). But it is true that one moving thing can be quicker and faster than another moving thing, and this is not impossible in bodies. And this too is the doctrine of Abfi 1-Q2sim and most of the people of reason. A group of materialists and others have opposed it.3 In other words, the reason why movements do not vary in speed is that it is impossible for a moving thing to traverse two places in one moment. This presupposes that there are not only atoms in space, but
Ibid., p. 108. Al-Mufid's use of waqt in the title and Iuila in the paragraph with the same meaning shows they were synonymous in his mind. a HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 143, citing fol. 105a. Horten remarks that 4bi1 Rashid calls it a quibbIe over words so as not to admit he agrees with al-Ka'bi against a Basran. Awd'il, p. 109.

a
8

Awci'il, p. 82, cited supra, p. 193. HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 139, citing fol. 94a. Awd'il, p. 76. Zbid., p. 107.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SRAIKH AL-MUP~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

that time too is composed of discontinuous, indivisible particles of duration. A body can cover only one space-atom in one time-atom, since both are indivisible. If the movement of one body were faster than the movement of another body, so that the first body covered two spaceatoms in one time-atom, this would be cutting the time-atom in half, which is impossible. Or if the slower body were to cover only one spaceatom in two time-atoms, this would be cutting the space-atomin half, which again is impossible. I t is, of course, undeniable that some bodies move more slowly than others. The explanation of this, however, is not in the single movements but in the intervals between the single movements. "For swiftness," says al-Mufid, "is only in successive traversing of places." l This notion of discontinuous time linked to the thesis that only one movement can be in one part had been in the kaldm circles at least since Abfi 1-Hudhail. Of him al-Ash'ari says: He claimed that accidents are divided by place or time or by agents. So he cIaimed that the movement of a body is divided according to the number of its parts ... So the movement inhering in this part is different from the movement that inheres in another part. And he said that movement is divided by time, so that the movement which exists in this time is other than the one which exists in another time. And al-Ash'ari names Abfi 'Ali al-JubbH'i as the opponent of both these theses. He says: Al-JubbH'i and other people of reason denied that one movement is divided, atomized, and parted, or that any one thing has a movement or a color or a power. And he said that when a body moves, there is in it the same number of movements as moving atoms, a movement in each atom.s Abfi Hiishim, however, held the theory of discontinuous motion, and his adversaries are said to be the astronomers, not any of the theologians. Ibn al-Murtad8 says:
1

According to the school of Abfi HHshim, no movement can be faster than another. When a movement seems slow to us, it consists in a sum of single movements which are broken by states of rest. This is against the teaching of some astronomers. Discontinuous atomic time, then, had become at least with Abfi Hishim the ordinary Mu'tazilite doctrine.

Atomic time, was not used by the Mu'tazilites as it would later be by the Ash'arites, to enhance God's omnipotence and sole direction of the world. There was, in fact, a dispute between the Baghdadis and the Basrans, with al-Mufid on the Baghdadi side denying God's power to act contrary to the property of weight that is inherent in things. AlMufid says: On the heavy: whether it is possible for it to stand in thin air without suspension or support. I say it is impossible and untenable. Calling it possible would lead to contradictions. This is the doctrine of Abii I-QHsim and a number of the Mu'tazila and more of the philosophers (al-awd'il). Opposed to them are the Basran Mu'tazilites. And it has been said that the only Mu'tazilites against it are al-Jubbi'i, his son, and their followers. When viewed from the Basran side, the dispute is seen to be about God's power to act directly upon heavy bodies without using an instrument. Abii Rashid says it is possible and that al-Balkhi denies it. The question is whether God can suspend the laws of mechanical causality, and al-Mufid and al-Balkhi are implicitly denying God's power of direct intervention here. Al-Mufid says: On body: whether i t can move without a pusher. I say that if materially uncaused (ikhtird'an) motion could exist in it, as the adversary maintains, then Mount Abii Qubais could
I

4
8

Ibid., p. 108. Maqildt, p. 319. Ibid., pp. 319-20.

HORTEN, Probleme, p. 91, citing fol. 31b. Awd'il, p. 108. HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 140, citing fol. 97a.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAXKH

AL-MUP~D

stand in the air by a rest (suku'n) that arose spontaneously (ikhtara'a) in it, without underpinning or suspension. And if this were possible, then solid, heavy rock could stand on thin glass - both being what they are - without the glass breaking. And fire could lick around pieces of cotton - both being what they are - without burning it. All of this is ignorance leading to every kind of absurd impossibility. Holding this thesis have been Abii 1-Qiisim, the philosophers (alawi'il) in general, and many of the Mu'tazilites. Opposed to it are none but Abii 'A1 al-Jubbii'i, his son Abii Hiishim, and their followers. Once again, although al-Mufid does not say so, the question at issue is God's power to intervene directly in the natural course of physical causality. Abii Rashid states the question thus: We hold that God moves a heavy body without another body to push or pull it. And Abii 1-Qiisim said in the 'Uyzin al-masi'il that this is impossible. And according to him it is not possible for God to make a materially uncaused (mukhtara'a) movement without its being generated by a mediate cause (sabab) .2 Abii Rashid argues in another place for his thesis that the force exerted by a grain of mustard seed can equal that exerted by an elephant, and vice versa. He points out that the evidence to the ccjntrary is only empirical, not necessary. He goes on to say: Hence many theologians have been able to hold that these movements are spontaneous (mubtadi'ril), not necessarily produced by a force in a body. So our shaikh Abii 'Ali even allowed that the movement of strong winds is spontaneous, not causally generated. The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that the Baghdadis and al-Mufid were far more rigorous about mechanica1 natural causal-. ity than were the Basrans, who held that God can act directly upon bodies without using material instruments, and who could sometimes even hold a theory of spontaneous motion among bodies.
1

Al-Mufid's ideas about the earth and thc univcrsc follow al-Balkhi's and arc conditioncd by the definition of place they both hold. Describing what he means by the world, al-Mufid says:

I say that the world (al-'ilam) is the heavcns, the earth, what is between them, and the substances and accidents that are in them. I do not know of any dispute about this among the believers in God's Unity.=
Then he gives his picture of the universe and the positions of its parts:

I say that the celestial sphere (falak) surrounds the earth and revolves about it. Within it are the sun, the moon, and all the stars. The earth is in its middle, in the position of the pivot-point in the middle of the circle. This is the doctrine of Abii 1-Qiisim al-Balkhi and a great number of the believers in God's Unity. And it is the doctrine of many of the ancients and the astronomers. Opposed to it have been a number of the Basran Mu'tazilites and traditionists. 2
The sources available do not show any Basrans denying the above thesis. Abii Rashid takes issue with al-Balkhi for holding the theory of the antipode^,^ but that part of al-Balkhi's picture of the universe is not mentioned in al-Mufid's thesis. Al-Mufid goes on to describe the motion within the celestial sphere:

I say that the portion of the celestial sphere which moves contingently (min jihat al-imklin) is what has place; what moves with necessary motion is what borders on the air and traverses place in its movements. As for that which touches its upper surface, it is neither moving nor at rest, for it is not in place. And I say that the portion of the celestial sphere which moves moves only in circular motion, as a sphere surrounding a ball moves. This is the doctrine of al-Balkhi and a number of the ancients and many of the believers in God's Unity. *
1

a
8

Awd'il, p. 108. A ~ i RKjHiD, "al-MasH'il", fol. 97b; cf. j Ibid., p. 148, citing fol. 120b.

HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 140.

Awd'il, p. 80. Ibid. HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 139, citing fol. 95a. Awd'il, p. 80.

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

The celestial spllere's outcr laycr is not itself surrou~~clcd anyby thing, and so, according to tllc definitions of place ;~lra:alygiven by alMufid and al-Balkhi, it is not in place. Since movemcnt anti rest suppose being in place, it is neither moving nor at rest. Al-Ash'ari mentions a dispute about whether the world is in a place, but he does not say who were the participant^.^ The sources available do not show the Basrans explicitly stating that the universe is in place or that it is not. But since the Basran definition of place is the support, not the ambient surface, it should follow for them that the outer layer of the celestial sphere is in place, since it rests upon the inner layers. According to Basran theory, however, place is not a necessary condition for movement,2 and so the outer layer of the celestial sphere can be moving. Place as a requirement for movement is a premise in al-Mufid's answer to a hypothetical question. He says: O n him who looks or puts out his hand beyond the world. I say it is not possible for the hand or anything else to be put out beyond the world, for what goes outside can do so only by a movement. But a moveable thing can move only in place, and there is nothing existing outside the world for there to be place or anything else.3 Ibn al-MurtadH attributes the same opinion to al-Balkhi and disagrees with it.4 Once again al-Mufid has shown himself with the Baghdadis against the Basrans. Al-Mufid goes on to talk about the shape and position of the earth. He says:

his son and a number of others, theologians and blind followers among the people of [various] opinions and doctrines.' Abii Rashid reports that Abii 'Ali held the earth to be flat. His son Abfi Hiishim hesitated, leaning to the view that it is spherical. Abfi 'AIi said the reason the earth is at rest is that God makes it to be so from moment to moment. Abii HLshim said this could be the reason, or the reason could be that the forces exerted above and below it are equal.2 This latter reason agrees with the one given by al-Balkhi and al-Mufid. NATURES (tabc, pl. tibi'). Al-Mufid holds that things have natures which dispose them to act in a certain way. He says:

I say that the earth is in the shape of a sphere in the middle of the celestial sphere. And it is at rest, not moving. The cause of its being at rest is that it is in the center. This is the doctrine of Abfi I-Q5sim and many of the ancients and the astronomers. Opposed to it have been al-Jubbii'i and
1

I say that natures are qualities (ma'inin) inhering in substances (jawihir) by which the action is prepared to be done. Take the eye [al-ba~ar,literally "sight"] for example, and the natural disposition (tabi'a) in it which makes it ready to have sensation and perception inhere in it. And, for example, the ear [al-sum', literally "hearing"], the healthy nose, and palates. And take, for example, the existence in fire of [a nature] by which it burns, and [the existence of] that in other things which makes them combustible. The case of these and similar examples is quite clear. Chapter. And I say that what is generated by nature is the act of the one who caused it by acting upon the thing which has the nature. I t is not really an act of a nature. This is the doctrine of Abii I-Qkim al-Ka'bi. I t is against the doctrine of the Mu'tazilites on natures, and against the atheist philosophers too in what they hold about acts of natures. AI-Jubbii'i has denied it too, along with his son, the ignorant traditionists, and the partisans of divinely created human acts and determinism.8
Al-Balkhi's thesis on natures is contested by the Basran school. Abti Rashid says that the thesis is unintelligible and that God is quite
Awd'il, p 81. . "al-Mas2'il," fol. 44a. Awd'il, pp. 82-83.

Maqdldt, pp. 430-31. HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 139, citing fol. 94a. AwZ'il, p. 110. HORTEN, Probleme, p. 105, citing fol. 43a.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

capable of making barley grow out of a grain of wheat or bringing any kind of animal out of human seed.1 The extreme doctrine of nature that al-Mufid and al-Balkhi repudiate, which would put all the causality in the natural dispositions of things, attributing only volition to man, is that of al-JHhi?;. The position of al-Mufid and the Baghdadis has already been seen to be that God cannot intervene directly in the course of things to hold heavy bodies in the air. Now it appears that there are natural dispositions and courses according to which things exert their causality. The Basran school denies both these theses, giving God direct control of the course of nature. Here the Basrans show themselves quite close to the Ash'arites.

THEFOURELEMENTS (tabica, pl. tabd'i').


Al-Mufid also subscribes to the theory of the four elements. He says : On the composition of bodies from the elements (tabd'i') and their dissolution into the elements (al-'an@ir wal-istagisit). Many of the believers in God's Unity have held that all bodies are composed of the four elements, which are heat, cold, wetness, and dryness. Their argument for this is the decomposition of every body into them and also the transformations they observe, such as the change of water into steam and back, the inanimate into living and back, and the presence of fieriness, wateriness, airiness, and earthiness in every body without exception. Its contrary cannot be understood. Nor do they decompose into anything but this. This is clear and evident. I do not find any reliable argument against it, nor do I see it as detrimental [reading mufsidan for musnidan] to anything in [the doctrines of] Unity, Justice, the Promise and the Threat, prophecy, or legal matters so as to make me reject it. Rather it supports religion and shores up the proofs for God in His lordship, wisdom, and justice. Among the leaders of the Mu'tazila who have held it is al-Na??;Em. Al-Balkhi also held it, and his followers too.2
1

Al-Balkhi's teaching on the four elements is reported by Abfi Rashid, who opposes it with the Basran doctrine. He quotes al-Balkhi as saying, "Men and all bodies that come to be and pass away are made from the four elements, and hence they can change into one another." 1 Speaking of the phenomena of fire coming from stones struck together and water collecting on the lid of a boiling pot, al-Balkhi would say that the element of earth is changed to fire in the one case, and air is changed to water in the other. Abfi Rashid upliolds the Basran thesis against him denying qualitative change. He says that atoms of fire were already latent in the stone, and atoms of water were already present in the air.2 Al-Mufid's statement that this is also al-Na??;HmYs opinion is curious in view of al-Ash'ari's testimony that whereas the qhib al-tabd'i' said there are four kinds of substance, and others added spirit to make five, al-Naz~Hrn said there is a large number: whiteness, blackness, yellowness, greenness, heat, cold, sweetness, etc. PERCEPTION SENSATION AND (idrzk and i!zsis). Of the subject and object of perception, al-Mufid says: On bodies: whether they are perceived themselves, or their accidents, or both together. I say that perception is of the bodies themselves and of the colors themselves and of the basic accidents (akwin). That is due to the knowledge the soul acquires by the senses of the existence of that which expands into directions [i.e., is extended in space]. Accidents, however, cannot expand into directions. A thing may be perceived
'

.-

HORTEN, Philosophie, pp. 100-01, citing fol. 57b.

a Awi'il, pp. 83-84. Cf. P. KRAUS, ''Jsbir b. Gayygn,"

Mkmoires de l'lnstitut

d'Egypte, XLV (1942), 165, n. 7, on the antecedents of these terms in Greek and their

use by the Arab hellenists. Kraus notes that although Aristotle sometimes uses (p6~y with adjectives such as warm, cold, wet, dry, earthy, and airy, he never uses it for the elements themselves. Cicero, however, describing the Empedoclean system, calls by Aristotle, and at least once, them naturae. The elements are usually called ~ u v & ~ ( I L ~ c n o ~ ~ ~ i a , is Empedocles' word also. Cf. the Arabic al-istagisit. Ptolemy, however, which and 8uvLpcr~ the elements. for uses (p6aoy together with xoyr6rc~ HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 100, citing fol. 57b. a BIRAM, 36-38. pp. a Maqdldt, p. 309.

NATUKAI. PIIILOSOPIIY

in the way we have described. I n i t will then be perceived that which compresses the view and that which expands i t ; and that which is in its place as well as that which brings it [sc. the view] out. [The text may be corrupt. I t seems to describe the vision roving over the surface of an extended body.] There is no difference between one who claims that perception is only of colon and basic accidents, excluding atoms and bodies, and one who turns the thesis around and claims that perception is only of bodies. Indeed, the thesis of this latter group is closer to the truth, because while many intelligent people have doubted the existence of accidents, none of them has doubted the existence of bodies. I n fact some have held that bodies are composed of accidents. This is the doctrine of the mass of the people of reason. And a group of them has opposed it.1 Two questions are being discussed here. First, what is the subject of perception? Is the perceiving subject the sense organ or the mind of the person who puts together and apprehends the data impressed upon the senses? Al-Mufid answers that i t is the latter. I n this he is following the theory held by al-Balkhi and Abfi 'Ali. The second question is about the object of sensation: whether i t is only accidents or also their substrates, a t least in the aggregate, which are bodies. Al-Mufid is saying that what we perceive is not color alone o r position or stature alone, but the complex of these and other accidents inhering in the body, along with the body itself. I n other words, the
Awd'il, p. 107. h-SHAHRASTAN~, Kifcib nihciyat al-iqdcim fi 'ilm al-kaldm, ed. A. Guillaume (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934), p. 343, says: "As for al-Ka'bi, he had said that a man's perception of what he sees and hears is in his heart and intelligence. His. sight does not sense the thing seen, but the seer senses; and the hearer, not the ears, senses. That is real knowledge; and since a man gets it by means of sight, sight is called a sense. But it is the knower who perceives, and his perception is not something additional to his knowledge." AL-ASH'AR~,Maqcilcit, p. 343, says: "People disagreed whether smell, taste, and touch are perception of the things tasted, smelled, and touched . . . And others said that it is not perception of the things smelled, tasted, and touched; and that perception of the touched, tasted, and smelled is other than taste, touch, and smell. Among them were al-Jubba'i and others." Zbid., p. 386, gives the various opinions, without naming who held them, about the location 01perception.
1

mind, pllttillg tog~tllcr 1 1 ~ 1 data of t l ~ c vilriou~ scnscs, pcrccivcs a colored body, not simply body or color; it pcrccivcs a body in motion, not just motion or rcst. Thc advcrsarics who denied accidents, to whom alMufid rcfcrs, were i~l-Na?/,lmand his followcrs.1 Of the psychological problem how the sense impression is taken into the perceiver's mind, al-Mufid says nothing. His remarks on the mechanics of sensation itself are restricted to the connection of the object with the sense organ. Insisting that there must be some kind of contact, he says : O n sensation and the senses. I say that all sensation is by touch of the sense organ to the object or contact with it or with what is in contact with it or with what emanates from it, or with what is in contact with what emanates from it. Sight is an example of this. Its rays must reach the object or what emanates from it or what reaches what emanates from it. If it could be sensed without contact, then a veil, curtain, or darkness would be no hindrance, and its presence or absence would make no difference for knowledge. If someone asks, "Do the rays of sight reach Jupiter and Saturn, distant as they are?" the answer is, "No, but i t reaches the rays emanating from them, and so i t is the same, because they [i.e., the rays] are of the same genus and species."2 Al-Mufid's insistence that there must be some contact with the visible object through rays is opposed only by al-Na??8mys idea of the "leap" of sight to its object. 'Abd al-Jabblr agrees with al-Mufid in explaining that a seer sees by rays going out from his eye,* and that stars are visible because of the addition of rays emanating from the stars to rays coming from the observer's eyes. 6
Ibid., p. 347. Awd'il, pp. 1 14-15. AL-ASH'AR~, Maqlikit, p. 384. Al-Mugkni, IV, 109. Ibid., p. 53.

a
a

TIII? TIIEOI.OCY 01: A1.-SIlAlKII A I . - M U P ~ I )

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

Al-Mufid goes on to cxplain Ilow toucll is involvcd in souncl. He says:

As for sound, it occurs when it is produced in the air nearest to bodies knocked together, then in the air next to that, and so on until it is generated in the air adjacent to the ears, so that the hearer perceives. A proof of this is the fuller beating a garment upon a rock. First the garment is seen hitting the rock, and after that the sound comes. This proves what we have said: that it is generated in one [layer of] air after another until it is generated in the air next to the ears. l
'Abd al-Jabblr denies this wave theory, probably because, being a Basran, he holds the existence of the vacuum. Whatever the reason, he says, "We are able hear the audible without needing contact (itti;il) of rays or air. Hence one of us hears a voice in its substrate." a The point 'Abd al-Jabblr makes from this is that since we hear the audible in itself, if God were audible, then we ought to be able to hear Him now. Abfi Rashid reports that al-Balkhi said sound must come from two bodies knocking together, but that Abfi H5shim denied this, saying that sound in se needs only a substratum, and the reason that man cannot produce a sound without knocking bodies together is that man himself is limited and needs to use instruments in his actionses Evidently this notion of sound is akin to 'Abd al-Jabblr's, for both he and Abii HLhim speak of sound existing in its substrate and not, as al-Mufid does, of sound beginning from a collision of bodies and going out thence i n waves through the medium of air. The Basran notion of sound does not call for a medium. Al-Mufid goes on to explain the physics of smell and taste. He says : As for odors, light atoms emanate from an odoriferous body and are diffused in the air. Those that come into noses nearby are perceived.

As for taste, it is the perception of what is dissolved from bodies and mingles with the wetness of the tongue and palate. Hence there is no taste to what is insoluble, such as rubies, glass, and the like. Tastes and smells are only by touch. There is no disagreement about this.l

Atoms of objects of smell and taste emanate from them and come into contact with the sense organs. Al-Mufid has not said what the rays emanating from visible objects consist in, but presumably they are atoms too. Al-Mufid goes on to treat the fifth sense: "And touch ( l a m ) is really a search for something to feel and sense. Its essence is feeling." a Thus all five senses operate by contact. Of this general theory of sensation by contact, al-Mufid says: "Abfi I-Q2sim and most of the believers in God's Justice hold all of this. Abil Hlshim al-Jubbl'i opposes some points in it."3 The only point on which a Basran atomist was found to disagree with al-Mufid's doctrine on the physics of sensation was in the sense of hearing. There 'Abd al-Jabblr may have been following Abfi Hiishim, as he often did, but this is not indicated in any of the sources available. Consistent with the Baghdadi doctrine that things must act according to their natures and not otherwise, al-Mufid holds with al-Balkhi that God is unable to produce color directly in the heart of a man who lacks the sense of sight. The same premise makes him deny that God is able to produce knowledge and pain in the dead. Al-Mufid says: On knowledge and pain: whether or not they can reside in the dead. I say this is inconceivable and impossible, with a certainty that approaches the self-evident. Were it possible for a dead body to know and feel pain, it would also be capable of action, pleasure, and choice. And if that were true, there would be no difference
1

1
9

AwiYil,p. 115. AL-Mughni, IV, 136. HORTEN, Philosophie, p. 121, citing fol. 69a.

Awi'il, p. 115. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 110, quoted supra, p. 1 7 G

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

between the living and the dead. And just as nothing can be both moving and at rest, black and white, living and dead, so the absurdity in the question at hand is patent. All the people of reason, despite their differences in doctrine, agree on this point. Some rare individuals have opposed this, but their eccentricity is due to sophistry and willful ignorance. l The import of this question will become clearer in a later chapter dealing with traditions such as those of the Punishment of the Grave. MAN. A problem arising from the tradition of the Punishment of the Grave is the occasion for al-Mufid's defining his notion of man. "The meaning of man, on whom moral obligations are imposed, is: a thing produced in time, self-subsistent, outside the categories of substance and accident."2 The main point in this definition is that the essence of man is immaterial. Therefore, he will conclude, God can furnish a man in the grave with a new body in which he can be rewarded or punished for the deeds he - the same man - did in his old body on earth. This notion of man as something independent of matter puts al-Mufid in a different tradition of the kalim from that of most Muctazilites. In "al-MasH'il al-sarawiyya" al-Mufid is asked, "What is his thesis about man? Is he 'this person that is seen and perceived,' as the followers of Abii Hishim say, or 'an atom inhering in the heart which senses and perceives,' as Abii Bakr b. al-Ikhshid is said to have held?"3 Both these alternatives are from the materialist tradition of the kalim. The opinion attributed to Abfi Hishim is the same as that reported of Abii 1-Hudhail. * The position attributed to Ibn al-Ikhshid is like the one al-Ash'ari ascribes to Ibn al-RPwandi: "It is in the heart, and it is not rEh [i.e.,
--

breath]; rCh is inert in this body."' Common to both these opinions - that the man is simply the person who is seen, and that man is an atom in the heart - is the view that man is entirely material. Al-M&d answers the question with his own opinion which agrees with neither of the suggestions. He says: Man is as the Nawbakhtis have said; and the same is related of Hishim b. al-Hakam as well. The traditions from our masters [i.e., the Imams] indicate what our doctrine is. He is self-subsistent, without bulk or extension; neither is composition possible in him, nor movement or rest, nor juncture or separation. He is the thing (al-shai') which the wise ancients have called "simple substance" (jawhar barf!) and similarly every living, produced agent is a simple substance.
\

The main point of the definition here is that man is essentially immaterial, and therefore he is indivisible and has none of the accidents which the atomists give to material substance. Evidently, then, "simple substance" was not taken by al-Mufid in the material meaning which jawhar has had up to now in this chapter. Al-Mufid continues: And he is not, as al-JubbP'i, his son, and their followers said, a composed aggregate (jumla mu'allafa). Nor is he, as Ibn al-Ikhshid said, a body located in a perceptible ( ~ i h i r ) aggregate. Nor is he, as Ibn al-Riiwandi said, an indivisible atom. Going on to name the antecedents of his own doctrine, he says: My thesis about him [i.e., man] is the thesis of Mu'ammar among the Mu'tazilites and the Nawbakhtis among the Shica, as we have said. He is a thing with capacity for knowledge, ability for free actions, life, willing and hating, disdain and love, self-subsistent, needing material instruments in his actions. Describing him as living is equivalent to saying he is knowing and able. Attributing life to him is not equivalent to attributing [Iife] to bodies, as we have said before.4 Ibid., p. 332. "AI-Sarawiyya," p. 51. 3 Ibid., reading "Ibn al-RBwandi" instead of the text's "al-I'wBdi." The reading chosen here follows that in the quotation of "al-Sarawiyya" printed in AwZ'il, p. 52, note **. "Al-Sarawiyya," pp. 51-52, reading in the last sentence !iayZt instead of haira, following the quotation in Awd'il, p. 52, note **.

,_,'

\ i

',/,

1
8

Ibid., p. 109. Ibid., p. 50.


8 , .

"Al-Sarawivva." p. 51, reading "Ibn al-Ikhshid" for "Ibn al-Ikh~hfid.". -- AL-AsH'AR~, MaqZlit, p. 329: "Abii I-Hudhail said: man is the apparent, seen person who has two hands and two feet."
8
4

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MOPID

Man's acts are ascribed to the essential man, the "simple substance," which makes use of the body as an instrument. There is a hint that bodies are not alive, at least in the same sense as the "man." Al-Mufid continues, developing the notion of self-subsistence: And he is designated as "spirit" (riih). In this sense traditions have come down that spirit, when it is separated from the body, is given ease and tortured. What is meant is the man, who is the simple substance called spirit. Upon him is the reward and punishment; to him are directed the command and prohibition, the Promise and the Threat. l Then al-Mufid cites three verses from the Quran to support his doctrine that the real "man", the spirit, is self-subsistent after death. From "0 man, what has made thee careless of thy Lord, the Bountiful, who created, then fashioned, then proportioned thee? Into whatever form He wills He casts thee," 2 he argues that man is not the form (@Bay taken here to mean body) that he happens to have. From the exclamation of one told to enter the Garden, "Would that my people knew how my Lord has pardoned me!"' he concludes that a man can still speak and enter the Garden when his body is buried in the earth. And from, "Think not of those who are slain in the way of God as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision," 4 he draws the same conclusion. I n a special question devoted to spirits, al-Mufid emphasizes that although they are self-subsistent, this does not mean that they do not depend on God to keep them in existence. He also hints at a kind of animal life proper to bodies. He says: Spirits, we hold, are accidents (a6rEd)which have no permanence, and God puts off their ending only from moment to moment [reading ba'ad instead of 'abad]. And if the prolongation of the Life-. giver were cut off, death - which is His opposite - would come to him, and the spirits would have no existence. So since God gives life, life which is the spirit begins in them. And the life which is in the
1

active essences means knowledge and power. I t is what is required for the knower to be knowing and the capable to be capable. And it is not of the same species as the life which is in the bodies. Al-Mufid does not mean that spirit is literally an accident, but that it shares with accident the characteristic of having no permanent existence. The hint that there is another kind of life in bodies is not developed further. I t may refer to a kind of animal soul in the bodies, or it may just mean that what appears to the observer to be life in a body is only what the body borrows from the spirit inhabiting it. This latter meaning would be in harmony with the doctrine of Hishim b. al-Hakam. Hishim's doctrine on man is given by al-Ashcari: Zurqin relates'of HishHm b. al-Hakam that he said: "man" is a name with two meanings: body and spirit. The body is dead, and the spirit -- not the body - is the doer, the senser, the perceiver. And it is a light - one of the lights. That such an early reference to a duality in man should come from Hishim b. al-Hakam is interesting, since HishBm's lack of technical vocabulary and philosophical concepts led him to speak of God in material terms, for which he was commonly reproached by later theologians. 8 However, al-Ash'ari relates that one of the images he used for God was "burning light." Pretzl sees in this a trace of Persian gnostic dualism from Bardesanes and akin to the Daisiniyya.4 Mu'ammar was an atomist, and al-Ashcari's account of his definition of man begins in the language, of atomistic materialism. But from the rest of his definition it appears that this atom of which he speaks has none of the accidents that material atoms have. I t would seem that in calling it an indivisible atom he means to emphasize that
"Al-Sarawiyya," p. 51. The text of this passage looks corrupt. Maqdldt, p. 33 1. The same is said ibid., pp. 60-6 1. a Ibid., pp. 31-33; AL-KHAWAT, 108. p. AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, p. 32. PRETZL, Attributenlehre, pp. 16, 48; "Atomenlehre," p. 127. PINES, pp. 101-02, grants the possibility of dualist influence on Hishlm but does not think Pretzl has shown that the influence came through to al-Nazzarn and Mu'ammar.
1

-__.....

,,

,
I
;
8

a a
4

"Al-Sarawiyya," p. 52. Quran, 82 : 6-8. Quran, 36: 26-27. Quran, 3: 169.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF?D

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

it cannot be divided, nothing more. Or it may be that the word juz' is al-Ash'ari's, not his. Al-Ash'ari relates: Mu'ammar said: man [is an atom that] cannot be divided, and he is the director in the world, while the body that appears is his instrument. He is not really in place; he touches nothing and nothing touches him. He is incapable of movement and rest, colors and taste. But knowledge, capability, life, willing, and hating are possible to him. And he moves this body by his willing and controls it without touching it.l Abd al-Jabbiir, who will be seen to hold a materialist concept of man, describes Mu'ammar's notion without using the wordjuz'. He says: I t is said by Mu'ammar that he is an indivisible self'('ain min al-a'ycin 1ci yajgz 'alaihi 1-inqisdm), and that he has no part and no whole. Movement and rest are not possible to him, nor are the other attributes of body. He does not need place in which to be located. And he is the unseen controller of this body, moving it and putting it at rest.
1 Maqzlit, pp. 33 1-32. The brackets are in the Arabic text. Cf. ibid., p. 3 18: "And Mu'ammar said that man is an atom that cannot be divided; he allowed that there can inhere in him knowledge, ability, life, willing, and hating. He did not allow that touch and separation, movement and rest, color, taste, and odor could inhere in him." AL-SHAHRATAN?, al-Mila1 wal-nibal, p. 47, says: "Man, according to him, is a m'n8 or substance, not a body. He is knowing, able, choosing, providerlt (ltakim). He does not move, nor is he at rest; not colored, not located, not seen or touched; not sensed or examined, nor does he inhere in a particular subject (mawdi'). Place does not encompass him, nor does time embrace him. But he is the director of the body, and his connection with the body is the connection of governance and direction. "He adopted this thesis from the philosophers who assert the existence of the human soul as a certain thing, ZLS a self-subsistent substance, not extended or located. And they asserted intelligent beings of that kind like the separated intelligences. Then since Mu'ammar had inclined to the doctrine of the philosophers, he distinguishedbetween acts of the soul, which he called "man" and the outer f o ~ m (qilib) which is his body. He said the act of the soul is the will-act and calculation, and the soul is man. So the act of man is willing. And the corresponding movements, cessations of movement, and impulses are acts of the body." AL-KHAYYAT, 54, accuses Ibn al-Rawandi of lying in his account of p. Mu'ammar's theory of man. And he says that Ibn al-Rlwandi and Mu'ammar really hold the same opinion. It seems that al-Khayylf is defending Mu'ammar here by misinterpreting him. a Al-Mughni, XI, 3 I 1.

I t may well be that 'Abd al-JabbBr understood Mu'ammar better than al-Ash'ari and for this reason did not have him say man is an atom. If this is so, then Pretzl's view that Mu'ammar's inspiration is from dualistic sources is more likely than what Pines says against it.' Whatever the source of Mu'ammar's theory, the similarity between his view and al-Mufid's is attested by Fakhr al-Din al-Riizi. Explaining the Quran verse, "They will ask thee about the ~ p i r i t , "al-RBzi mentions ~ three opinions about man. Most theologians, he says, hold that "man" is an expression for the sensible body constructed in a particular way.8 The second opinion puts the essence of man in an accident inhering in a body. Under this heading al-Riizi places both the theory of most physicians (afibbd') and the Mu'tazilite Abfi 1-Husain al-Basri, that man is the result of a particular mixture of the four elements, and the theory of most Mu'tazilites that man is simply a body having the accidents of life, knowledge, and power.4 The third opinion, which al-RZzi favors here, is that man is "an, existent which is not body (jism) and has no materiality (jisrndniyya).~-? ' 7 - b This, he says, is the position of most of the theist philosophers, who held , that nafs abides after death and who maintain for nafs a spiritual resurrection and spiritual reward and punishment. This, he says, is the also opinion of many learned Muslims, such as al-Ghazziili, Mu'ammar, alShaikh al-Mufid, and many of the K a r r B m i ~ a .Then he divides the ~ partisans of this view into two classes. The first, which he prefers, says I G-. that the soul is neither in the world nor out of it, and is connected with the body only as its ruler, just as God is the ruler of the world. The I 1 other opinion is that the soul in life is united with the body so that it

<

l1

PINES, 101-02. Cf. supra, p. 225, n. 4. pp. Quran, 17:85. a FAKHR AL-DIN AL-=zi, al-Tafsir al-kabir (Cairo: al-Nuhya I-mi~riyya,193462), XXI, 40. See also D. B. MACDONALD, Development of the Idea of Spirit "The in Islam," Muslim World, XXII (1932), 158-61. A L - U ~01-Tazir, XXI, 44. , ti Ibid., p. 45. However in his "Ma'iilim u$Gl al-din," printed on the margin of his Mu(za~~a1, 1 17 K, al-RHzi definitely rejects the thesis of "the philosophersJ' that pp. the soul is a non-corporeal substance. AL-RAzi, al-Tafsir, XXI, 45.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SI-IAIKII AL-MuF~D

becomes the body and is separated at death. Since al-Mufid has said that spirit is incapable of juncture or separation, he clearly belongs to the former group. Al-JubbCi's notion of man, which al-Mufid had accurately characterised as "a composed aggregate," is described by 'Abd al-Jabbgr, who also makes it his own: The thesis of our shaikhs in this chapter is that the living and potent agent is this person constructed with this special make-up whereby he differs from all other animals. He it is to whom command and prohibition, praise and blame are directed. Although he is living and capable of action only by accidents in him, that does not enter into the definition. ' 'Abd al-Jabbl goes on to relate how the concept "Living" includes only that part of man which has life, nothing more. And for that reason Abii 'Ali had excluded bone and hair from the concept of man. Abii HLshim argued that.some bones are living, since one can feel pain in his teeth and joints. According to this principle of feeling as the criterion of life, the rzih, or breath, is not living.' The same criteiion is brought up later to refute the thesis that the "agent, the one capable of action, the perceiver, is the spirit and not the body, for the body is dead."a 'Abd al-Jabblr replies that every substrate in which we perceive heat, cold, and pain must have life in it. But the body is such a substrate, while breath is not. So body is alive and the rzih is lifeless. I t can be concluded, then, that al-Mufid in his notion of man belongs to a tradition which had at least one Mu'tazilite adherent, although its origin may have been in the Shi'ite Hishlm b. al-Hakam, or before him in Persian dualism. At any rate, this was certainly not a ~ u r e l vMu'tazilite question, much less did it divide the Mu'tazilite according to Basran and Baghdadi.
I

11~: niost practical wily to givc a filial ovcrview of tliis ratllcr ;L titblc: urtllc tlicscs oral-Mufid, al-Balkhi, a n d tllc: 13nsrans. 13ctwccn tlicscs wliich agrec, the sign = will be put, al~cll>ctwrc.n opposilig tllcscs tlie sign # . Tlic rnenriing of "Basrans" it1 t11e Illid colunill of the table is tlie later school as represented by Abii Hgshim, 'Abd al-Jabbiir, and Abii Rashid. Unless otherwise indicated, the Basran theses are taken from Abii Rashid. When an explicit statement has not been found for either al-Balkhi or the Basrans relating to a thesis of al-Mufid, the space will be left blank, but if agreement or opposition can be inferred from other statements, this will be indicated by the signs = or # .
r

i~lvolvt:cl clirrl~tcris to makc

When a Basran thesis agrees with al-Mufid but not with al-Balkhi, it will be noted with ( a ) . When the Source of a Basran thesis is other than Abii Rashid, it will be noted (b) if it is from al-Ash'ari's MaqZl&, (C) if it is from Ibn al-Murtadl, and ( a ) if it is from 'Abd al-Jabblr. More exact locations will not be indicated, since all the theses have been mentioned in this chapter. (See Table 1, following.)

Al-Mufid generally follows al-Balkhi. There is however one occasion when he claims to be with al-Balkhi while other sources show he is really holding a Basran thesis instead: the whole of a body does not move with the movement ofone part. The thesis that individual atoms are extended is of fundamental importance. I n holding it, al-Mufid differs from al-Balkhi, and it leads al-Mufid to some inconsistencies when he later takes al-Balkhi's side on questions of body and motion.
'

A basic thesis in which al-Balkhi and al-Mufid oppose the Basran school is their denial of the existence of the void. I t leads to further differences regarding place and sound waves. Time, both schools hold, is any event the observer chooses for marking the "when" of another event. But al-Mufid also employs a notion of atomic, discontinuous units of duration.

a
8

Al-Muglzni, XI, 31 1. Ibid., p. 312. Ibid., p. 334.

TABLE1. SUMMARY OF POSITIONS AL-MUF~D Atoms are homogeneous Atoms have extension Place is the ambient surface Place is needed only for motion and rest Void does not exist Atoms endure by an attribute of permanence The non-existent is not a thing Substance needs accidents to exist Accidents have no permanence Accidents cannot be restored Time is what the timekeeper sets Bodies are not permanent Bodies are composed of at least eight atoms Whole body does not move with 1110vement of a part *

AL-BALKH~
# need not be homogeneous
= are not extended
= is the ambient surface = is needed for motion and rest = does not exist = endure = by an attribute of permanence

BPISRANS

# are homogeneous a
# have extension # is that on which a body rests
# is not needed for motion and rest

# exists
= endure

not by an attribute of permanence

# is a thing
= needs accidents to exist
=

# is a thing, accident, and body

# can be without every accident except kawn


# Basic accidents are permanent until displaced by their opposites
# Basic accidents can be restored by God

have no permanence

= cannot be restored

= is what the timekeeper sets

# are permanent of at least four atoms


#

# moves with movement of a part (i.e., if a body is in movement, only its outer surface is mowing)
TWO pushers form one mover
-

# All parts of a hdx* move 9 '

; k

Each mover produces its own


movement

= No movement can be faster

another C

to stand in the air alone is impossible A body moving without a pusher is impossible Universe is not in place Movement beyond the world is impossible Earth is spherical Earth is at rest because in middle Natures are in substances making them act uniformly Bodies are composed of four elements Perceiving subject is not the sense organ, but the mind Object perceived is accidents with substrates Sight is by rays from eye and object Sound is from two bodies knocking together Sound comes through waves in air Man is spirit

# is possible
= is impossible

# is possible for God

# is possible for God #


# is possible c

= is not in place
= is impossible = is spherical

# is flat (Abii 'Mi)


= is probably spherical (Abfi =him)

= because in middle

# because God makes it so (Abfi 'Ali)


= or because in middle (Abii HBshim)

= are in substances making

them act

# are unintelligible

uniformly
= are composed of four elements = is not sense organ, but the mind

# are not composed of four elements


= is not the sense organ, but the mind

= is from two bodies knocking together

is by rays from eye and objecta

# needs only a substrate

# is heard in its substrate d


# is this person constructed with this sensible body d

TIiE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL.-MUF~D

,'

I 1
i

In one respect al-Balkhi and al-Mufid are closer to an Ash'arite conception of the world, and in another respect the Basrans are closer. The Baghdadis hold, against the Basrans: substance needs a variety of accidents in order to exist, accidents have no perinanence in existence, and substance endures not through itself but through an attribute of permanence. Taken together, these three theses are all the premises necessary for the Ash'arite theory that God continually re-creates all substances and accidents in the world. On the other hand, al-Mufid and the Baghdadis hold that there is a natural course of cause and effect in which God does not intervene because He would be contradicting Himself if He did. God cannot make bodies move without a material pusher or make them stand in the air without material support. The Basrans say He can. According to al-Mufid and al-Balkhi, there are natural dispositions in things, but the Basrans say that the idea of natural dispositions is unintelligible, and God can just as easily make, for example, barley grow from a grain of wheat. Here the Basrans are closer to the Ash'arite theory that the course of nature depends entirely upon God, while the Baghdadis are contradicting it. Finally, in his definition of man as spirit, al-Mufid runs counter to the materialism of most MuctaziIites, both of Baghdad and Basra.

CHAPTER IX

THE NAMES AND THE JUDGMENTS


(al-asma' reral-ahkam)

,
I

This is the question of the grave sinner in the Community: how to classify him. 'Abd al-Jabbiir explains that the reason for calling the Mu'tazilite thesis of al-manzila bain al-manzilatain "the names and the judgments" is that the grave sinner has a name between two names, and a judgment is made of him putting him between the status of believer and unbe1iever.l He stands therefore between the man who clearly deserves a reward in the Garden and him who undoubtedly deserves to be punished forever in the Fire. For all parties agreed that the Fire awaited the unbeliever and the Garden the believer. KHARIJITES MU'TAZILITES. AND The early formulation of the problem situated the difficulty squarely in this world rather than the next. The Kharijites did not distinguish between imZn and islZm. For them, a grave sinner had denied his faith and so was not a Muslim. Nor was he, therefore, to be treated as such. The Mu'tazilites did not distinguish between faith and Islam either, but they did distinguish between believers, grave sinners, and unbelievers. The grave sinner is not to be called a believer, but neither is he an unbeliever. Since, the Mu'tazilites argued, the Companions and Followers of the Prophet had not denied the rights of membership in the Community

1 I i i, . '
1,

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

TIiE NAMES AND TIIE JUDGMENTS

(inheritance, marriage, and burial) to grave sinners, they must have a judicial status (hukm) between that of believers and unbelievers. l Faith, according to Abii 'Ali and Abii Hfishim, means doing the prescribed works - but not the supererogatory - and avoiding evil. Abii 1-Hudhail and 'Abd al-Jabbiir include the supererogatory works in faith without, however, maintaining that one who omits them is deficient in faith or has abandoned Islam. 2 The difference about supererogatory works, then, is minor. What is plain is that all four Mu'tazilites include works in their definition of faith. And the Muctazilite definitions of faith which al-Ashcari enumerates in his Maqdldt show a common insistence on the works of obedience.

among the twelve consisted chiefly, as Wensinck rcmarks, in their admitting or not admitting other features, such as love, fear, or submission, to the definition of faith. The grave sinner does not cease to be a Muslim unless he also renounces his belief, which is knowledge and profession of the doctrines of Islam. The early Murji'ites did not, however, make an explicit distinction between faith and Islam. Some distinction is apparent in the Hanifite-maturidite creed of the fourth century which Wensinck calls "Fiqh Akbar 11." Faith, it says, "consists in confessing and believing." And, "Islam is absolute agreement and compliance with the commands of Allah." a The point of the text is not to show their difference but to emphasize that they complement each other: the interior belief of faith and the obedience of Islam. The creed goes on to say: Language distinguishes between faith and Islam. Yet there is no faith without Islam, and Islam without faith cannot be found. The two are as back and belly. Religion is a noun covering faith and Islam and all the commandments of the Law.a The creed is saying, then, that imriw and islrim are distinct and complementary.

Before the Mu'tazilites came upon the scene, the Murji'ites had opposed Kharijism and extreme Shi'ism by saying that the question of who was right - 'Ali or his opponents - is best left to God's judgment. Thus the origin of Murji'ism was political, as an attempt to bring unity out of party ~ t r i f e . ~ The Kharijites moreover said that flagrant sinners were not Muslims and should be fought as unbelievers. Again in the interests of peace in the Community, the Murji'ites countered that even grave sinners must be regarded as Muslim believers. The need to provide a speculative basis for this political attitude led the Murji'ites away from a consideration of man's actions as paramount and toward an elaboration of the notion of faith as knowledge and external profession. Common to almost all twelve Murji'ite positions on faith which al-Ash'ari names in his Maqriklt are ma'rga and iqrrir, knowledge and profession. 6 The difference Ibid., p. 713. Ibid., p. 707. Maqdcit, pp. 266-70. On the origin and early history of the movement, see MADELUNG,Zmcim Der al-Qlisim, pp. 228-41. 6 Maqdldt, pp. 132-41. The same identification is made in the Murji'ite work: A ~ i iMUQATIL AL-SAMARQANDI, wal-mula'allim, riwdyat Abi Muqdtil 'an Abi al-'Ah Hanifa, ed. M. al-Kawthari (Cairo: al-Anwlr, 1368 H.), p. 13.
8

In the creeds of al-Ibrina and his Maqllgt, al-Ash'ari states plainly that there is a distinction between faith and Islam. Concluding the passage in the Maqdldt where he has said that faith means faith in God, His angels, His books, His apostles, and His determinations, and that Islam is one's testifying to the shahdda, he says: "And Islam, according to them, is other than faith." The creed of al-IbZna says: "We hold that Islam is more extensive than faith, and that the whole of Islam is not faith." 6
1 J. WENSINCK, Muslim Creed (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, The 1932), - 132. . - p. a Ibid., p. 194. 8 Ibid. MCCARTHY, Theology o aldsh'ari, p. 243, No. 25. The f 6 Ibid., "IbHna," No. 26.

THE NAMES AND THE JUDGMENTS

Both thcsc crccds also say "tllal: fitill1 is 1)otll spc:c-c:l~ work, ; L I I ( ~ and that it increases and decrcascs." In tllc "Kitiil) al-luma'," 'howcvc~., where al-Aslrcari is arguing against the Mu'tazilitcs that the gritvc sinner who belongs to the People of the qibla is a bcliever, he says thi~t the meaning of faith is the act of assent ( t q d i q ) to God. Thus accordi~~g to the argument, the sinner, ~lnless actually disbelieves, is still a behe liever, and of course a Muslim. 2 But here al-Ash'ari is reducing faith to assent or belief and withdrawing it from the realm of action. I n view of the fact that al-Ash'ari distinguished between faith and Islam, what was his opinion on the relation between the two? He does not seem to have had, or expressed, a precise answer. Gardet points out that his statements rather held the seed of the later Ashcarite solution, which would call the interior tqdiq the formal aspect of faith and define Islam as the fulfillment of the commands of the Law - above all the profession of the shahdda, Hence for the Ash'arites, interior faith can exist without Islam, and Islam can be practiced without faith.s The formal element, then, of the Ash'arite notion of faith was assent (tqdiq). The formal element of Murji'ite faith was knowledge. The Muctazilites stressed action, without of course excluding knowledge.

a believer and that there is no difference between Islam and faith in religion. 1 This thesis - that every believer is a Muslim but the converse is not true - is found in the section of the Awg'il dealing with the major differences between the Imamites and the Muctazilites. The answer to the question about the relation between faith and Islam lies in the various things al-Mufid says about faith and unbelief. The grave sinner's situation is treated later on in the Awd'il. AlMufid says: On the names and the judgments. I say that grave sinners among the People of Knowledge and Confession are believers by reason of their faith in God, His Apostle, and His message; and they are fisiqzZn by reason of their grave sin. I do not give them absolutely the name ofjsq, nor absolutely the name of faith. Rather I bind the two names together, calling such people both [at once]. I refrain from attributing unreservedly to them either of these names, but I do give them categorically the name of Islam. This is the doctrine of the Imarnites, except the Nawbakhtis. For they disagree, attributing faith categorically to the grave sinner. Al-Mufid's term here for the Muslim Community, ah1 al-ma'rifa wal-iqrZrr, has a Murji'ite sound, for the Murji'ites used the two terms, knowledge and confession, constantly in their definitions of faith. However al-Mufid has not used it to describe faith, but Islam. As the objects of faith he names God, His Apostle, and the message. He does not explicitly mention the rights of Muhammad's family. Sunnites of all shades

.--

Against the Mu'tazilite and Kharijite identification of faith with : Islam, al-Mufid teaches that they are distinct. He says:
/

1 , i

On islrfm and im&. The Imamites agree that Islam is other than faith, and that every believer is a Muslim, but not every Muslim is a believer. There is a difference between these two ideas in religion as well as language. Agreeing without them in this thesis are the Murji'ites and the traditionists. The Mu'tazilites and many of the Kharijites and Zaidis agree on the opposite thesis, claiming that every Muslim is

Ibid., pp. 244-45. Ibid., "al-Luma'," p. 75, No. 181. a L. GARDET, Dieu et la destinbe de l'homme ("fitudes musulmanes," Vol. IX; Paris: Vrin, 1967), p. 371.
1

p. 15: "The Imamites are agreed that the grave sinner of the People of Knowledge and Confession is not thereby excluded from Islam, and that he is a htuslim, although a bad (fisiq) one because of the grave sins and crimes he has committed. "Agreeing with them in this are all the Murji'ites, the traditionists without exception, and a group of Zaidis. Joined in opposition to it are the Mu'tazilites and many of the Kharijites and Zaidis. They claim that the grave sinner we have mentioned is a fisiq, neither a believer nor a Muslim, and that the works of obedience he is reckoned to have omitted are furthermore subjoined to hisjisq." On the culpability of omissions, see supra, pp. 157-62.
a

Awi'il, p. 15. Ibid., p. 60. See also ibid.,

THE NAMES AND THE JUDGMENTS

could accept this enumeration of the objects of faith as it stands, and so apparently al-Mufid should consider them believers. But from al-Mufid's other statements about unbelief, this will be seen to be not so. O n the question, then, of what to call a grave sinner, al-Mufid stands neither with the Mu'tazilites, who claim the sinner is not a Muslim and not a believer, nor with the Murji'ites, who claim he is a Muslim ., and a believer in the full sense. According to al-Mufid, the grave sinner j is a Muslim in the full sense but not a believer in the full sense. Rather he is a sinful believer.
'

I
JUDGMENTS

(al-ahkim).

Al-Mufid is saying, against the determinists, that God's friendship and enmity are contingent upon man's acts, and that the necessary basis of any acts which win God's friendship is faith, or, as he puts it, knowledge of God. And the basis of the disobedience which makes one an enemy of God is ignorance. In his commentary on Ibn Bfibiiya's creed, al-Mufid equates disbelief with ignorance of God and His apostles. l Al-Mufid goes on to imply that a man's deeds are not always required for God's reaction of friendship or enmity, but only the man's faith or unbelief. Here al-Mufid is getting away from the Mu'taziliteKharijite inclusion of deeds in faith and moving toward the Murji'ite view of faith as knowledge and profession. He says: And I say God's friendship to the believer comes at the moment of his believing, and His enmity to the unbeliever comes also at the moment of his disbelief and error. This doctrine has its basis in that of the People of Justice and irji', for the Mu'tazilites held some of it while other parts of it have the agreement of the Murji'ites [reading murji'a instead of the text's mzibira]. And the whole of it is for him who makes a synthesis of the two positions: Justice and the Murji'ite doctrine of the states of the dying (al-muwifit). As for the thesis that God might be an enemy to one who will later be His friend, but not a friend to one who will be His enemy, we have already spoken of i t in the chapter on the states of the dying.2 The real issue here in which al-Mufid is attempting a compromise between the Mu'tazilites and the Murji'ites is the status of the grave sinner. Al-Mufid began by stating a thesis with which any Mu'tazilite would agree: God's friendship and enmity are contingent upon man's acts, and the basis of man's meritorious action is knowledge of God, or faith. But immediately afterwards he qualified that by saying God gives a man His friendship simply for his faith, or, as al-Mufid puts it, "in the moment of his believing." This, of course, could also bear an interpretation acceptable to a Mu'tazilite if it is taken to mean either that

The judgment upon a man, or his status before God, is that of either a friend or enemy. Al-Ash'ari reports a dispute about God's friendship (waliya) and enmity ('adiwa), the Mu'tazilites holding that they are attributes of action, against those who held they are attributes of His essence. The point is that God's attributes of essence are unchangeably determined from all eternity. Al-Mufid has a broader treatment of friendship and enmity, distinguishing the terms as they apply to man and to God. He says: Man's friendship to God involves obeying Him, belief in his duty of thanking Him, and avoiding disobedience to Him. And I hold that this can take place only after knowledge of Him. AS for God's friendship to man, it is His stipulation of a reward for him and His approval (ridi) of his action. Man's enmity to God is his disbelief in Him, rejection of His favor and benefits, committing acts of disobedience in defiance [reading 'inid instead of 'ibid] of His command, and spurning His ' prohibitions. And this happens only with ignorance of Him. God's enmity to man is His stipulation of eternal punishment for him, His cancelling of his right to a reward for any of his deed, and [God's] order to curse and disown him and his deeds.2
1

Maqdldt, pp. 265-66; 582. Awi'il, pp. 95-96.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

THE NAMES AND THE JUDGMENTS

man's faith includes by definition his good actions or that God's friendship to him begins at the moment of his beginning to believe and will last until he commits a grave sin. But with such an interpretation, what follows would not make sense. For immediately afterward al-Mufid has said that, while God may be an enemy to one who will later be His friend, He will never be a friend to one who will later be His enemy. I n other words, once God gives His friendship, He does not withdraw it. No Mu'tazilite would accept such a thesis.
i

The chapter on the states of the dying to which al-Mufid has referred says:

I say that he who knows God at some time in his life and believes in Him for a moment of his lifetime will die only+-the state of] belief in Him. And he who dies disbelieving in God has never believed in Him. With me in this thesis are traditions from the Truthful Ones - on them be peace. And many of the Imamite legists and traditionists hold it. And it is the doctrine of many of the Murji'ite theologians. The Nawbakhtis oppose it, holding the doctrines of the Mu'tazilites. l
Al-Mufid has said that his thesis on God's friendship and enmity is a synthesis of Justice and of al-muwqZt. He partially agrees with both. With the Mu'tazilites he holds that God may change His enmity for a man to friendship; with the partisans of the theory of al-muwifit he denies -that God will change His friendship to enmity. Ibn Hazm gives an account of the classic theory of al-muwifcit. He says it is a thesis of the MuGtazilite Hishiim al-Fuwafi and all the Ash'arites that if a man has been a believer and obeyed the Law in his lifetime but then changes and dies as an apostate unbeliever, it means that God was always displeased with him, even during his early life as a believer. And the unbelieving sinner who is converted to faith late in life has always been pleasing to God, for God does not change His mind. 2 In other words, God's friendship and enmity belong to His unchanging essence.
1

Al-Ashcari notes that a Kharijite sect called the Makramiyya held the thesis of al-muwcifZt, which means that "God befriends and is an enemy to men according to what they are going toward, not according to the acts they are now doing."l Another Kharijite sect, the Khfizimiyya, he says, held the same doctrine. 2 Al-Mufid's position is first of all, non-determinist. With the Muctazilites he has emphatically stated t h a T ~ o d ' sfriendship and enmity depend upon man, not upon God's prior choice. But he departs from the Muctazilites to say that once a man hasreally believed, he will never lose his faith. The reason for this departure is that al-Mufid's notion of faith, like the Murji'ites' notion, is very intellectual. I n fact it is really a knowledge of God so firm and clear that, once acquired, it cannot thereafter be denied. This is quite different from the Muctazilites' practical notion of faith as consisting of both knowledge and obedience. The intellectual and therefore indelible character of faith in alMufid's system comes out in a passage in al-Fusiil al-mukhtcira. He is debating with an unnamed Muctazilite about the Hidden Imam. The question is why the Twelfth Imam does not return now that so many of his followers are waiting and ready to support him. Al-Mufid answers that many in the Imamite party cannot be trusted, for they might be tempted to betray him. However, al-Mufid knows that his own faith would never so waver because it consists of knowledge. He says:

I. -

- .'

I know I am a knower of God, His Apostle, and all the Imams. This knowledge prevents me from committing unpardonable disbelief and from attempting to shed the blood of the Imam. Indeed, I hold the very fear of it to be unpardonable disbelief. And since I am confident, it protects me from that, according to my doctrine on al-muwZfcit.
Al-Mufid is saying that real faith is such clear understanding that the one who has it cannot thereafter disbelieve. Since obedience to the Law is not part of its essence, subsequent sins do not put one outside the
Maqdldt, p. 100. Ibid,, p. 96. AI-Fzgiil, p. 78.

Ibid., p. 58.
IBN=ZM,

IV, 58.

THE THEOLOGY OF A L - S W K H AL-MUP~D

number of the believers. If a man who has belonged to the Imamite party commits an act of infidelity such as betrayal of his Imam, the explanation is that he was never really a believer.

Continuing his discussion with a Mu'tazilitc rtdvcrsary, al-Mufid explains why Inany members of the Imamitc party are untrustworthy. He says:

Al-Mufid's theoretical statements about faith will be more easily understood if they are viewed negatively against four classes of people to whom they do not apply. Excluded from the number of believers are all determinists, blind followers who should know better, heretics, and enemies of 'Ali. Not all of the members of al-Mufid's own Imamite party meet his standard of faith. The matter comes up in "al-MasgJil al-sarawiyya": Seventh question. What is his doctrine on the determinists among the Imamites who hold determinism (jabr) and assert that God wills disobedience and unbelief, and who allow the possibility of seeing God? Does this doctrine of theirs amount to unbelief or not? And is it licit or not to dispense the poor-due to their children? Answer. The determinists are unbelievers. They do not know God. And he who does not know God is outside of faith and belongs to the people of unbelief and oppression. The deeds whereby they hope for nearness to God avail them nothing, nor is knowledge of the prophets and the Imams possible to them. Any of them who belongs to the People of Truth does so out of blind caprice and disobedience, not from knowledge and understanding of reality. Giving the poor-due to such is illicit. Whoever gives it to them has misspent it, and his duty is to give it again to one who deserves it - one of the People of Knowledge and F r i e n d ~ h i p . ~ Faith, therefore, and membership in the Muslim community demand' that one believe in God's incorporeity and Justice, in the Mu'tazilite sense. Not even those who externally belong to the Imamite party-and await the return of the Twelfth Imam are exempt from being branded as unbelievers if they deny this.

A ilulnber of the adherents (mu'laqidiu) of the Shi'a are, I think, not knowers in the true sense. They only adhere to religious duties out of blind imitation (taqlid) and habit, not from reasoning upon proofs and acting upon arguments. No one in this position gets the eternal reward deserved for the knowledge whose clarity prevents the one who grasps it from falling into disbelief. So he [i.e., the blind imitator] deserves eternity in hell. Think about that!
Seeing an opening in al-Mufid's rather broad description of taqlid, the Mu'tazilite opponent makes a rejoinder which reveals something about the Imamite community of the time and al-Mufid's position in it. He says: If you say that, there will be no Imamite Shi'ites in the Garden but you. For we know none of them who are reasoners except you. Or if there are some, they are perhaps not twenty souls in the whole world. This is what I think you hold. And if you answer that they are not infidels but adhere to the Shi'a both interiorly and exteriorly, then they are like you. And this would refute what you just said. 2 Forced to clarify and refine his statement about blind imitators, alMufid exculpates those who have not the ability to penetrate beneath externals. He says: I do not say that all the people of taglid are infidels, for among them are some who have no obligation to know and reason upon proofs, simply because they lack sufficient intelligence to have that command laid upon them. But I think they are obliged to speech and action. This is my opinion about many of the people of the SowZd and outlying districts, the Bedouin, both Arab and nonArab, and the common people. If these people say the words and
1

Al-Fqtil, p. 78.
Ibid.

'I'IIE TIIEOLOQY OF AL-YI~IAIKII

AI,-MUP~I)

THE NAMES AND THE JUDGMENTS

perform the actions, their reward is likc thi: rccornpcrlsc of infants, beasts, and the insane. And any disobcclicncc they lrappcrl to commit makes them liable to punisllment in this world and on the Day of Return, all during the time of trial, and in the Fire temporarily. Then they emerge into the place of rcward.1 The "place of reward" is actually the Garden. In the next chapter it will be seen that infants, idiots, and animals are in the Garden not from God's justice but by His favor. 2 The common people in question, then, are obliged to say the words of the shah6da and perform the acts prescribed in the Law, even though they do not understand them. I t has been seen that islzm contains imEn but is wider. Within the circle of Islam, but outside of faith in the strict sense, are those who through no fault of their own have not reasoned to their beliefs. On the people who are capable of using their reason but do not, al-Mufid says: And I hold that a number of the people of taqlid are infidels because they have the ability to seek proofs whereby they might come to understanding. So if they turn away from reasoning in pursuit of knowledge, they deserve eternity in the Fire. These are harsh words for an Imamite to use of members of his own party, and they reflect a preoccupation with the use of reason that was common to the Mu'tazilites and probably some A~h'arites.~ But to mitigate and clarify this doctrine, al-Mufid widens the notion of knowledge which he requires by distinguishing it from ability at dialectic. Continuing his reply to the Mu'tazilite, he says:
Ibid., p. 79. See Awd'il, p. 91, and infa, pp. 263-64. Al-Fu~il,p. 79. 4 An exception among the Mu'tazilites was Abii I-Qaim al-Balkhi, who held Probleme, p. 256, and VAN that taqlid can be a way to true knowledge. See HORTEN, Ess, Erkenntnislehre, p. 46. The Ash'arite school was accused by Ibn Hazm and the MHturidites of holding that adults who do not know the rational proofs are unbelievers. VANESSremarks that there was polemic oversimplification and perhaps simple misunderstanding in this charge. On the whole question of takfir 01-'dmma, see Erketmtnislehre, pp. 49-54. For another discussion see T. Izu~su,The Concept o Belief in Islamic ThcoZogy (Tokyo: Keio f Institute, 1965), pp. 119 ff.
1
9

As for your allegation that there only about twenty or so Shi'ites in the world who use their reason, even if you were correct in this, it would not prevent the majority of the Shi'ites from being knowers ('irijin), for the means to knowledge is near at hand, and everyone comes to it who uses his intelligence, even though he has not the ability to express this nor the facility in dialectic that would make him a professional in speculation. Lack of cleverness in debate and of acquaintance with its rules and the obscure and fine points of theology does not prove ignorance of G0d.l Al-Mulid is not saying that the majority of Shi'ites are knowers, but that the majority of the Shi'ites can be knowers. Farther than this he does not venture.% The common people who do not reason are externally Mudims and are truly so if their failure to reason is no fault of theirs. Furthermore, the distinction between the man who culpably neglects to use his reason and the person who reasons but has not the ability to express himself is often impossible to make in individual cases. So for practical purposes the common people are regarded as Muslims.

Another class of people whom al-Mufid calls unbelievers are the heretics. These he totally excludes from the Community of Islam. He says : The Imamites agree that all heretics are unbelievers, and that it is up to the Imam to call them to repentance, according to his ability, after appealing to them and showing them evidence. If they repent of their heresies and correct themselves, fine. If not, he should kill them on account of their apostasy (ridda) from faith. And any of them who dies in heresy is in the Fire. The Mu'tazilites are agreed against this, claiming that many heretics are grave sinners, not unbelievers, and that many of them do not even sin gravely by their heresy nor put themselves outside

a 'ABD AL-JABBAR makes the same sort of distinction between the general knowledge required of ordinary believers and the detailed competence expected of the scholar, Sharh, pp. 123-24.

THE NA.MES AND THE JUDGMENTS


THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SIfAIKH AL-MuF~D

Islam. They have in mind the Murji'ite partisans of Ibn Shabib and the Zaidi Butriyya, who agree with them in their basic points of doctrine although they oppose them in the attributes [they demand] of the imam. Whom did al-Mufid consider to be heretics? He does not say exactly, but there were practical reasons for his reticence. He was living in the midst of powerful Sunnites in Baghdad. There is no doubt, however, that he considered any group which denied the claims of the twelve Imams heretical and therefore unbelievers. He defends elsewhere the validity of the tradition: "He who dies without knowing the Imam of his age dies the death of the times of ignorance." He argues that face-toface knowledge of the hidden Imam is not required, but knowledge of his existence in the world is. 2 Only the Imarnites meet this requirement.

One difficulty in considering the concepts i m L , isldm, and kufr is that unbelief (kufr) has necessarily been used as the contrary of both faith and Islam, whereas al-Mufid has expressly said that the latter two concepts are not coextensive. In the Kitrib al-jamal, which deals with the First Civil War, he passes the judgment of k~$r upon 'Ali's enemies. But in doing so he refines the term so that two kinds of kufr appear: kufr ridda (apostasy), which is the contrary of Islam, and kufr milla (unbelief), which is the contrary of faith. He says: The Shica agree in declaring unbelievers those who warred against the Commander of the Faithful. But they do not exclude them from the religion (din) of Islam, since their unbelief was a matter of interpretation (kufr milla), not the unbelief of apostasy from the Law itself (kufr ridda). For they abided by the Law as a whole, and they professed the two clauses of the shahrida. They therefore avoided kufr ridda, which excludes one from Islam. However by their unbelief they did exclude themselves from faith and have deserved a curse and to be forever in the Fire, as we have said. Every Muctazilite who holds that it was an error to war against the Commander of the Faithful declares them guilty of grave sin (Jisq) and deserving of eternity in the Fire. But he does not call them unbelievers or declare them to have such a status. The Kharijites declare the people of Basra and Damascus unbelievers and exclude them because of their unbelief from the religion (milla) of Islam. And some of them go further still, calling them not only unbelievers but polytheists.' has said that "Islam" is broader than "faith." And he has restricted the term "believer," refusing to apply it to many classes of people who actually profess Islam and observe the Law: determinists, those who assert God will be seen by the blessed in the next life, blind imitators who are capable of using their reason, heretics, and enemies of 'Ali. To these people who occupy a middle ground between faith and exclusion from Islam the term kufr milla, unbelief within the religious community, can be applied. In the passage just cited from the Kitdb al-jamal, al-R4ufid distinguishes his view from the views of the Kharijites and the Mu'tazilites.
&-MUP~D, Kitrib al-jamal (Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1963), pp. 29-30.

Al-Mufid's judgment of 'Ali's antagonists is the one to be expected of a Shi'ite. He says: The Imamites, Zaidis, and Kharijites are agreed that the criminal traitors among the people of Basra and Damascus are all unbelievers, in error, and accursed for warring against the Commander of the Faithful, and they are therefore in the Fire forever. The Imamites, Zaidis, and a number of the traditionists agree that the rebels against the Commander of the Faithful [i.e., the Kharijites] who became renegades from religion are unbelievers by reason of their warring against him, and therefore they are in the Fire forever. Since the people of Basra and Damascus had never accepted 'Ali's claim to the caliphate, there would be no difficulty in reconciling this . with the thesis of "the states of the dying." They had never truly been believers.
1 Awd'il, pp. 15-16. On Muhammad b. Shabib, see IBN AL-MURTA~A, Tabaqit, v. 71. On the Butriyya, see VANARENDONCK, p. 82, n. 8. Ddbttts, a See supra, pp. 127-31. 3 Awam'il,pp. 10-1 1.

Al-M&d

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

THE NAMES AND THE JUDGMENTS

He has put 'Ali's enemies in a position between belief and the kind of unbelief which excludes one from Islam. They are consigned to eternity in the Fire, like the grave sinners in the Mu'tazilite scheme. Yet it would not be true to call al-Mufid's position of the Names and the Judgments merely a disguised Mu'tazilism using kufr milla instead of jsq, for his definition of faith was knowledge of God, and it did not include acts, whereas the Mu'tazilite definition emphasized acts of obedience. The decisive difference, however, between a l - ~ & d ' s system and the Mu'tazilites' will become apparent in the next chapter, on the Promise and the Threat. For al-Mufid's believer who commits grave sins, his mu'min fgsiq, will not be left in the Fire forever.

unbelief because, as we have said, they deserve to be called polytheists in the judgment of religion.' Al-Mufid applies this principle to the enemies of 'Ali and his successors on the condition that they considered what they were doing to be lawful. He says: And those who revolted against the Imams of Justice, if they considered their war, enmity, and killing of their [i.e., the Imams'] faithful supporters to be licit, have thereby come under the Threat from God's saying, "God does not forgive assigning a partner to Him. He forgives all below that to whom He wi11."2 Al-Mufid has in fact said elsewhere that 'A'isha, Talba, al-Zubair, and many others of their party considered their revolt not only lawful but even an act of religion.' This is the key. Al-Mufid goes on, using this key', to distinguish two kinds of premeditated murder, only one of which is unpardonable. He says:

What has just been explained is al-Mufid's chosen scheme and terminology for naming and passing judgment upon the enemies of 'Ali. However on another occasion an objector quoting a Quran verse forces al-Mufid to put the matter differently. The questioner cites the verse, "God does not forgive assigning a partner to Him. He forgives all below that to whom He will." Then he asks if premeditated murder and the crime of revolting against the Imams may not be forgivkn, seeing that the people in question agreed on the basic principles of religion. Al-Mdid finds it necessary to assert that the enemies of the Imams were polytheists (mushrikfin), lest he be forced by the Quran verse to admit the possibility of their ever being forgiven. He begins his answer by putting a very wide meaning on the term "polytheism." He says: All disobedience to God which constitutes unbelief (kufr) is polytheism (shirk) in the judgment of the Law and religion. And every unbeliever is a polytheist, in religious terms but not in common language. Every polytheist is an unbeliever in terms of both religion and common language. And if the matter is as we have put it, one must say definitely that His Threat applies to unbelievers of any kind and type of
1

As for premeditated murder, there are two kinds. I n one kind, the agent considers it licit; the other kindis that which is done while being considered unlawful. Whoever kills a believer considering his blood licit is thereby an unbeliever, and he deserves the Threat according to His saying, "God does not forgive assigning a partner to Him," and verses likes this threatening unbelievers. Whoever kills a believer considering his act unlawful, fearing punishment for it, and believing in the necessity for repentance on his part, is excepted by His saying, "He forgives all below that to whom He will." However we do not say with certainty that he will be punished, nor do we declare confidently that he will be pardoned unless he repents. If he does, he is certain of pardon and forgiveness. 4
The root of the difference is that the murderer who kills while admitting he does wrong is still a believer. The man who considers it licit "Al-'Ukbariyya," Q. 28, reading anwli'ihd instead of aqwcibihli, in accordance Ms. Najaf: Maktabat Ayat Allah al-uakim al-'&mma,No. 436.
a
4

with

Ibid.

Quran,

4:48, and 4:116.

Kitlib al-jamal, pp. 19-20. "Al-'Ukbariyya," Q. 28.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-WFID

to kill a believer or even an Imam is by that very consideration showing he does not believe in the Law or in the inviolability of the Imams. The actions of the two men in question are the same, but only the unbeliever is unforgivable. Al-Mufid's historical judgment is that 'Ali's enemies did in fact consider their revolt legitimate. According to alMufid's solution here, faith is still wholly intellectual and distinct from action. The fate of the believing murderer who fails to repent before death will be considered in the next chapter. There it will be seen that the problem is not whether he will be forgiven or not, but whether he will be forgiven outright or punished for a while and then pardoned. CONCLUSION. Al-Mufid has been seen in this chapter to hold a position on the Names and the Judgments that has much in common with Murji'ite doctrine : emphasis. on knowledge in faith, the distinction between imcin and islim, and the denial (to be taken up in the next chapter) that the believer who is a grave sinner will be punished in hell forever. Yet a Shi'ite-Murji'ite alliance is most improbable, since the Shi'ites from the beginning abominated the Murji'ites for refusing to declare 'Ali superior to his enemies.' Nor is it possible to find al-Mufid's inspiration in that class of theologians called Qadarite-Murji'ite, who were originally quite distinct from the Murji'ites. For these Qadarites were fully as ready as the Mu'tazilites to consign the believing sinner to the Fire for all eternity.' Granting the influence of both Muctazilite and Murji'ite theology upon al-Mufid's thought, the real reason for his taking the position he did seems to be his conviction that the believing sinner is ultimately going to enter the Garden. And the reason for this was the very important and basic Shicite doctrine of the Imam's intercession, which will appear in the next chapter. For examples of Shi'ite animosity toward the NIurji'ites, see G. VANVLOTEN, Z.D.M.G., XLV (1891), 166 ff.; and M. BARBIER MEYNARD, Seid DE "Le Himyarite," Journal Asiatiqrce, 7e strie, IV (1874), 220. a AL-ASH'ARP, Ilfaqildt, p. 150. See R~.~DELUNG, al-Qisim, p. 239. Der Zmim
1

CHAPTER X

THE PROMISE AND THE T H R E A T


(al-zva'd wal-wacid)

This chapter will have three sections. The first will threat al-Muf'id's thesis that the threat of eternity in the Fire applies only to unbelievers. The second section is on repentance and what it involves. The third will consider some eschatological traditions and the way al-Mufid and the Mu'tazilites interpreted them.

I n the last chapter al-Mufid was seen to teach that certain classes of' people will be forever in the Fire : determinists, anthropomorphists, blind imitators who could have used their reason in religious matters, "heretics," meaning everyone outside the Imamite party, and 'AIi's enemies. These people have this in common: all are regarded as unbelievers. AI-Muf'id says it is Imamite doctrine that only unbelievers are liable to eternity in hell. He says: The Imamites agree that the threat of eternity in the Fire is directed specifically at the unbelievers, not the sinners (murtakibi Idhuntib) among the People of Prayer who know God and profess His obligations. Agreeing with them in this are all the Murji'ites except Muhammad b. Shabib, and the traditionists without exception. The Mu'tazilites are all against it, claiming that the threat of eternity in the Fire applies equally to unbelievers and all grave sinners (fussiq) among the People of Prayer.

"Irdji,"

THE THEOI.OGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

T l l l l PROM1815 AND 1'IIE TIIPIZAT

/
!
'

And the Imamites agree that any of the People of Confession Knowledge, and Prayer who is tortured for his sin will not be so eternally. He will be taken out of the Fire and put in the Garden and given ease there forever. Those whom we have enumerated agree in this. And the Mu'taziEtes agree against it, claiming that no one who enters the Fire to be tortured will ever emerge from it.'

While the Murji'ites and Sunnite traditionists agree in this general doctrine, as al-Mufid says, they would not, of course, agree with alMufid about just who are the "People of Knowledge and Confession." This group, according to al-Mufid, consists of the Imamite believers. Of them and their condition between death and Judgment Day he says: On the status after death to the morally responsible among the flock of the Imams. I say that there are four classes: [a] some God raises and puts with their patrons in the Garden; [b] others are raised and joined to their leaders 'in the place of disgrace; [c] as to another class, I hesitate. They may be give life, or they may be kept in the condition of the dead. [dl And another class is not given. life after death until the Day of Judgment. [a] As for the favored class, they are the perspicacious in understanding, the well-tested in obedience. [b] As for those in torment, they are the people who fought against the truth, the immoderate in committing evil. [c] As for those of whom it is doubtful whether they live or remain dead, they are the sinners (fkiqiin) of the People of Knowledge and Prayer who have committed crimes, despite their being forbidden, out of passion, not obstinacy, and without calling what they did good. And they have put off repentance and died-wi-&out it. God may take death away from them in order to torment them cal-barzakh for the guilt they have incurred, so a$ to purify them of it before the Resurrection so that they will arrive at the Resurrection [reading al-qiyima instead of al-qima] safe from the fire of hell and then enter the Garden because of their obedience. And it is also possible that their life may be kept in abeyance until the Day
1

of Reckoning so tllnt tlicy can tl~cnb(: punisllc~l pardoncd as God or wills. Which of tl~csc:two states tlicy arc in is Ilidclcn frorn men. [dj As for the foar~ll elass, tlioy arc the rest of ila: people, wlio without obstinacy fall sliort in knowlcdgc and are dccmcd weak. This thcsis is in explanation of what is the cstal~lisheddoctrine of Imamite tradition. The way of arriving at it is by hearing and true traditions. Previous Imamite thcologiarls do not havc any doctrine about this that they have menti0ned.l The second group named may be the Imamites whom al-Mufid does not consider real believers: the determinists, anthropomorphists, and blind imitators who could have used their reason. I t is also possible, from his description of them as people who "fought against the truth and were immoderate in committing evil," that al-Mufid is momentarily ranging outside the announced subject of his paragraph to speak of the people who fought against 'Ali. It is apparent from the passage just quoted that al-Mufid thinks of al-barzakh as a place of temporary punishment separate from hell where believing sinners may be kept before the Day of Resurrection. 'Abd alJabbZrYsnotion of al-barzakh, which is quite different, will be seen later in this chapter. Since the essential man is spirit, God is able, in al-Mufid's system, to supply him with a temporary body in which he can be rewarded or punished, given pain or pleasure, between the time of his death and the Day of Ressurrection. In this scheme it is necessary for the Garden to exist before the Last Day. Al-Mufid maintains on the evidence of traditions that both the Garden and the Fire are already in existence. Most of the Mu'tazilites say this is possible but that the traditions do not compel assent, while Abfi HZshim al-Jubbg'i says it is impossible for them to exist nowa2I n the Mu'tazilite system there is really no reason for the Garden and the Fire to exist now, for nobody would be in them.
\

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Awd'il, p. 14.

Ibid., pp. 48-49. On al-barzakll, cf. B. CARRA VAUX,E.Z.2, I, 1071, and DE R. EKLUND, between Death and Resurrection according to Islam (Upsala: Almquist and Life Wiksells, 1941),passim. Awd'il, pp. 102-03.

THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT

INTERCESSION. The keystone of al-Mufid's teaching on the Promise ancl the Tlacat is the doctrine of intercession, and here he finds himself in direct opposition to the Mu'tazilite concept of Justicc. For the "People of Justicc," as the Mu'tazilites called themselves, held that every grave sinner who died without repentance would be held to strict account on Judgment Day. Al-Mufid says: The Imamites agree that the Apostle of God will intercede on the Day of Resurrection for a number of grave sinners (murtakibi l-kabl'ir) of his Community, and that the Commander of the Faithful will intercede for the sinners ( d l 6 al-dhunnb) of his party, and that the Imams of the family of Mubarnmad will also intercede. And God will save many sinners (khcji'in) because of their intercession. Agreeing with them about the Apostle's intercession are the Murji'ites, except Ibn Shabib, and a number of the traditionists. The Mu'taziIites all oppose this, claiming that the Apostle's intercession is on behalf of the obedient, not the disobedient, and that no creature at all can intercede for him who deserves punishment.
1

All the Imamites except a few eccentrics agree on this thesis. The Quran has spoken of it, and the traditions are clear on it. God has said of the unbeliever, describing what they miss which the faithful have : "We have no intercessors and no close friend [Quran, 16: 100-011." And the Apostle of God has said: "I shall intercede on the Day of Resurrection, and my intercession will be accepted; 'Ali shall intercede and be accepted; indeed the lowest intercessor among the faithful will intercede for forty of his fellows." 1 This answers the problem raised by al-Mufid's refusal to call the sinful believer categorically either a sinner of a believer. The effect of intercession is that no one who fits into the category of believer, even a sinner-believer, will be excluded from the Garden after Judgment Day. 'Abd al-Jabb5r presents the Mu'tazilite view on intercession in his Sharh al-upil al-khanro. First, he says, all agree that the Prophet's intercession is valid for his Community. But the question is: for whom within the Community? The Mu'tazilites say it is for the obedient, and the Murji'ites say it is for grave sinners. Intercession, 'Abd al-JabbZr says, means asking a favor for another or asking that harm be prevented from him. For the unrepentant grave sinner no intercession could lead to .pardon, any more than a father could be persuaded to pardon the murderer of one of his sons while that man is lying in ambush for another son. Besides, says 'Abd al-Jabbiir, the Prophet would never intercede for a grave sinner, for that would detract from his own honor. Then too, according to 'Abd al-JabbPr's principles, it is positively evil to reward someone who does not deserve it. And finally he quotes verses of the Quran against it. Awi'il, pp. 52-53. For a similar passage see AL-MUP~D, al-Fynil, p. 47. With the tradition that the lowest of the believers shall intercede for forty of this fellows, compare IBN BABCJYA, Shi'ite Creed, trans. A. Fyzee (Oxford: Oxford UniverA sity Press, 1942), p. 68, according to which the least believer will intercede for 30,000. I n a footnote Fyzee says that the Sunnite tradition has 70,000 and refers to Wensinck, Handbook, p. 112. But the traditions referred to there say only that a certain great person in the Community will intercede for 70,000, and others speak in general of believers interceding for their friends. a Awi'il, p. 60; see also supra, p. 237. 3 Sharh, p. 688. Zbid., p. 689.

In another passage on intercession, al-Mufid goes even further, following a Shi'ite tradition, and says that good Imamites will also intercede for their brothers. I t becomes clear as well from a comparison with the passage above that the people he named as beneficiaries of 'Ali's intercession are grave sinners. He says:
!

I say that the Apostle of God will intercede on the Day of Resurrection for the sinners of his Community (mudhnibi ummatihi) specifically the Shi'a, and God will accept his intercession. And the Commander of the Faithful will intercede for the disobedient of his party, and God will accept. The Imams will intercede for their' party, and God will accept. And the guiltless believer will intercede for his friend who is a sinful believer, and his intercession will be of help to him, and God will accept it.
1 Zbid., pp. 14-15. Ibn Shabib was a Qadarite. Although numbered among the Murji'ites for their definition of faith, the Qadarites were closer to the Mu'taziliw in matters of Justice. See IBN AL-MURTAPA, rabaq6t, p. 71, for Ibn Shabib.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT

'Abd al-JabbZr admits that the Prophet will intercede for the Community, but he says this intercession will aim at gaining benefits for good Muslims rather than warding off harm from the bad. Against this the Murji'ites (a term which, in this context, stands for all non-Mu'tazilites) bring up a tradition according to which Muhammad has said: "My intercession is for the grave sinners of my Community." Even if the tradition be well-founded, replies 'Abd al-Jabbiir, it applies only to one particular case, not to the generality of sinners. Besides, the case is that of a grave sinner who repents. If he repents, reply the Murji'ites, of what use is the intercession? 'Abd al-Jabbiir answers that by sinning the man has lost his reward. The use of intercession is to restore to him the abundant reward he was promised for his good deeds.' This explanation supposes the Mu'tazilite doctrine of cancellation (ihbc!) whereby the bad deeds a man does are cancelled out by the good, or vice versa if the bad outweigh the good. Al-Mufid's arguments against this doctrine of cancellation will appear below. 'Abd al-Jabb5.r mentions in passing Abii 1-HudhaiPs opinion that intercession is for those who commit small sins, but he rejects this on the grounds that small sins can be made up for by acts of obedience.' So small sins do not need intercession, in his view.

'Abd al-JabbZr then explains that he has said "actually or potentially" to cover the case of someone with no good deeds at all to his credit. Such a person actually deserves no reward at all. The point is that a believer deserves a reward proportionate to his acts of obedience to the Law. When he commits a small sin, the reward he has already merited makes up for the punishment which the sin itself deserves. When, on the other hand, a believer commits a grave sin, all the reward he has merited for previous obedience is cancelled out, and he deserves nothing but punishment. I n 'Abd al-JabbZr's system there is an absolute difference between great and small sins. Any amount of reward, however large, which even the best of men may have merited during a long life will be cancelled out by a single grave sin. The basis of 'Abd al-Jabbiir's argument is an analogy with the penalties prescribed for certain offenses in the Law, which must be executed without regard to the culprit's previous merits. 'Abd al-Jabbiir raises the question in order to dispose of it. He says: Does the reward for a man's obedience [ever] reach an amount [reading haddan instead of hadd] that would blot out the punishment due for a grave sin, the lifespan of a man being what it is? The basic rule is that it does not reach that amount. For even if one of us attains the utmost degree in obedience and then steals ten dirhams, the required conditions being fulfilled, the imam will cut offhis hand as a retribution and example. And this would not be legitimate if it were possible for a man's previous deeds of obedience to win him a reward large enough to blot out the penalty for theft. In other words, the lifespan of a good man, to which the question refers, really has nothing to do with the result of one grave sin. Its punishment is deserved absolutely, without relation to previous merits. Hence there is an absolute difference, according to 'Abd al-Jabbzr, between grave sin and small sin.2
Ibid., p. 800. 'Abd al-Jabblr adds, however, that God does not let us know specifically which are the grave and which are the light sins. Were He to do so, He would be tempting man to do evil. For man, if he knew which sins he could commit with impunity, would not hesitate about committing them. See Sharb, p. 635.
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4 "

'Abd al-Jabbiir describes the difference between great and small sins in terms of their results. He says: The grave sin, in the convention of the Law, is that whose agent's punishment is more than his reward, either actually or potentially. . . . . As for the small sin, it is that whose agent's reward is more than his punishment, either actually or potentially.
Ibid., pp. 689-90. For the tradition cited, see Sahib al-Timirdlri (Cairo: al-Slwi, 1934), IX, 267, and other references in J. WENSINCK,Handbook o Early Muhammadan A f Tradition (Leiden: Brill, 1960), p. 1 1 1. a Shar!z, p. 691. 8 Ibid., p. 632.
1

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

TIIF, PROMISE AND TIIF, 'L'LII<EAT

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Al-Mufid's view of great and small sins is that their difference is merely relative. He says:

I say that no sin is small of itself, but only in relation to others. This is the doctrine of most of the Imamites and Murji'ites. The Nawbakhtis differed and held the opposing doctrine of the Threat and Mu'tazilism. l
In 'Abd al-JabbZrYssystem, grave sins cancel out reward, but small sins do not. Thus there is no real proportion between grave and small sins. In al-Mufid's system, there is no notion of cancellation, and so there is not the absolute difference between grave and small sin which is found in the Mu'tazilite scheme. I t has been mentioned that al-Mufid's doctrine of intercession is the keystone of his opposion to the Mu'tazilite thesis of the Threat. But this is not to say it is his main argument. Rather it is the basic reason why he takes the Murji'ite position here and uses dialectical arguments against the Mu'tazilites. The two main points he must make are, first, that God must in justice reward a believer for every good act he has done, contrary to the Mu'tazilite thesis that good and bad deeds cancel each other out; and second, that God will not be guilty of going back on His word if He pardons a grave sinner after threatening him with eternal punishment.

111fact onc of tllcm, Abii I~i5sl1im, cvcn says that God will punish forcvcr a man who has riot oniittcd any act of obcdicncc, has not dollc allytlling agiliilst Him, nor ally evil act forbidden to him. This is bccausc hc claims that at some timc or other the man did not do what he ought to llavc donc, not deviating intcrltionally from his duty nor doing anything positive against it. However God says: "Indeed We suffer not the reward of one whose work is good to be lost [Quran, 18:30]," and, "He who does an atom's weight of good shall see it [Quran 99-7]," and He says: "He who brings a good deed will receive tenfold the like thereof, while he who brings an evil deed will be awarded only the like thereof [Quran, 6 : 1601." And He says: "Good deeds do away with evil deeds. This is a reminder for the mindful [Quran, 1I : 114]."1 Al-Mufid's main point is that every good act must be rewarded. I n another passage expressing the same argument he sees God and man with conflicting claims on each other. He says: I t is not possible in justice that a man should do both obedience and disobedience and be forever in the Fire for the disobedience but given no reward for his obedience. For he who withholds a claim that is against himself and yet exacts full measure for a claim that is in his own favor is an unjust tyrant. Far is God above that!a Just as a man's disobedience gives God a claim against him, so the man's obedience, al-MufId is saying, gives him a claim upon God. The nature of that claim will be examined below. Al-Mufid's argument rests on the premise that a great amount of evil does not cancel a small amount of good. He says: On the cancelling out of deeds. I say there is no cancellation between acts of disobedience and obedience, nor between reward and punishment. This is the doctrine of a number of the Imamites and the Murji'ites. The Nawbakhtis hold for mutual cancellation in what we have just mentioned, agreeing in that with the Mu'tazilites.8
Al-Fqd, pp. 282-83. See also supra, pp. 157-59. "Al-Sarawiyya," p. 64. Awi'il, p 57. .

Al-Muf'id states his positive argument that good deeds must be rewarded : The Mu'tazilite thesis on the Threat accuses God of misconduct, injustice, and lying in His traditions. For they claim that if a man . has obeyed God for a thousand years and then does something forbidden, puts off repentance, and dies in that state, God will not reward him for any of his obedience. He voids all his good acts, makes him immortal in the Fire, and will not take him out of it, will not take pity on him, not even for any creature's intercession on his behalf.

T I I R 'L.llI'.OI.OOY OF AL-SHAIKII AL-MUF~D

THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT

If the good a believer has done in his life can be c;l~~celled by out a greater amount of evil lle has done, then God is under no obligation to reward him in the Garden for his few good deeds. This is exactly the Mu'tazilite contention. 'Abd al-Jabblr argues that even supposing both the reward and the punishment a man deserves ought to be eternal, the fact is he cannot have both at the same time; he can only be given one or the other. So whichever is less, the reward or the punishment, must be cancelled out / by the greater. l Throughout this discussion it should be remembered that faith is /of paramount importance for al-Mufid, and his argument that every good act deserves an eternal reward is merely dialectical in nature. \ He is debating the Mu'tazilites on their own ground in order to refute their thesis of the paramount importance of deeds. With this argument al-Mufid means to show that it is not really a matter of acts being weighed against other acts or their reward, as the Muctazilites were saying, but of acts being weighed against faith. And faith, says al-Mufid, is always A believer who dies guilty of unrepented sins, grave or light, will be saved from eternity in the Fire. But that believer will be saved by the intercession of the Prophet and the Imams. I n al-Mufid's system, the friendship (waliya) of the Imams is an essential constituent of faith. Those Muslims who deny the rights of the Prophet's family are considered to be unbelievers. And it is also impossible to be a true friend of the Imams and yet lack faith in the other essential points. Thus the determinists in the Imamite party are also considered by al-Mufid to be unbelievers. At first sight, the Mu'tazilite doctrine of cancellation would seem to avoid al-Mufid's charge that it condemns to hell a man who has done a thousand years of good but then committed one grave sin and died unrepentant. But it does not really avoid al-Mufid's point, since there is in the Mu'tazilite scheme an absolute difference between grave and small sins, and a grave sin always cancels out all previously merited reward. So in fact the reward of a man's entire lifetime of obedience is

blotted out by one grave sin at the end. This, al-Mufid maintains, is unjust. Abii Hiishim and 'Abd al-Jabblr, in contrast to Abii 'Ali, distinguish from the reward, which is cancelled out, the compensation ('iwad) a man nonetheless deserves because of suffering he has undergone apart from any wrongdoing of his own. If the man is to be punished eternally, God may give the compensation due him either in this life, a t the Day of Resurrection, or in the form of some mitigation in his eternal punishment. 1 Since al-Mufid's argument requires that any meritorious action a believer does should have an eternal reward, his notion of compensation is limited to believers whom God has given some hardship for the benefit of others. Unbelievers, al-Mufid says, do not deserve any compensation, since whatever suffering they endure is deserved as part of their punishment. I n this world a believer may be given part of his reward and part, or even all, of the punishment he derserves. But he can never receive in this life all the reward he deserves, for a believer's full reward demands eternity in the Garden.3 Since al-Mufid says that every act of obedience deserves an eternal reward, he must set some limit to what can be called obedience. He
1

Ibid., pp. 626-27. See also supra, p. 185. Awi'il, p. 90. See also supra, p. 184. AL-MUP~D, Awi'il, p. 57: "I say on the Threat what I have said before in my

account of the consensus of the Imamites. And I say furthermore that whoever has done a work for God and drawn a step nearer to Him, God rewards him for that with everlasting ease in the Gardens of immortality. "The Nawbakhtis hold that many of those who obey God are rewarded for their obedience in this world, and that they have no share in the next world. With me in my doctrine are most of the Murji'ites and a number of the Imamites." Ibid., p. 92. "On reward and punishment in this world, and on anticipating the recompense in this world. "I say that God rewards some men for their obedience in this world with some of the reward they deserve. But He cannot give them their full reward in this world because the reward for obedience must be everlasting. And He may punish some men in this world with some or all of what they deserve for their opposition, because not every act of disobedience deserves eternal punishment."

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT

excludes all unbelievers from the possibility of performing any act which would merit a reward in the Garden. He says: O n the unbelievers: whether any of them knows God and can obey Him. I say that no one disbelieves in God who knows Him, and no one obeys Him who resists His favor. This is the doctrine of the majority of the Imamites and most of the Murji'ites. The Nawbakhtis are in opposition on this point, claiming that many of the disbelievers in God know Him and are obeying Him in many of their acts, for which they are compensated and rewarded in this world. The Muctazilites agree with them in part of this, and the Murji'ites are with them in other parts.' 'Abd al-Jabb5.r neither affirms nor denies that an iinbeliever can be said to obey God. What he says in his explanation of compensation about the temporary recompense for pain endured by one who is going to be punished in the Fire2 may refer to infidels and it may also refer to believers who are grave sinners.

But this contradicts Justice and leads to the doctrine of the people who attribute coercion and determinism to God. Furthermore, if pardon is commonly approved even when it involves breaking one's word, it is all the more proper when it involves no breach of promise. For when we say that God pardons despite His Threat, we are saying that He threatened with a condition which saves Him from faithlessness to His Threat. For He is wise and does nothing in vain.' The condition, which al-Mufid speaks of without naming, is that that the Threat applies only to unbelievers. God threatens eternity in the Fire to grave sinners - unless they believe.

As part of his argument that the Threat applies only to unbelievers, al-Mufid must prove that when God forgives a grave sinner who has died, He is not being false to His own previous threat of eternal punishment. Arguing against Abii I-QHsim al-Balkhi he says: All intelligent people, Arab and non-Arab, approve of pardon after a threat, and they do not censure the pardoner. This refutes the thesis that claims it would be evil of God to pardon after His Threat. For if the same action could be evil when done by Him but good - according to every intelligent person - when done by men, then it would also be possible for another action to be good when He . does it while all intelligent men say it is bad when a man does it.
1 Zbid., p. 58. He expresses the same opinion in al-Fqiil, p. 39: "As for my doctrines on irja", I say there is no obedience with infidelity, for he [i.e., the unbeliever] does not know his Lord. And since he does not know Him, he cannot obey Him. For an act is obedience only when the agent intends it for the one he obeys. And if he is ignorant of the one obeyed, he cannot direct the act to him." Sharh, p. 626.

'Abd al-JabbZr notes that there was a theoretical dispute between the Basran and Baghdad Muctazilites whether punishment qf the sinner is God's right or His obligation. The Baghdadis, arguing that punishment of the sinner is a benefit (lutf) from God - a benefit, in that it helps to keep other men from sinning - said God is obliged to carry i t out. The Basrans, however, saw punishment as God's right against the sinner whcc-k~ecould forego if He chose. But as a matter of fact, the Basrans said, God has made it known that He will treat sinners as they deserve. 'Abd al-JabbHr criticizes the Baghdadis for making punishment follow with a higher degree of necessity than reward, for the Baghdadis taught that God is obliged in His generosity, not His justice to reward the obedient. Al-Mufid answers the question whether the well-being in the Garden is God's favor or reward by distinguishing two classes of people in the Garden. One class, he says, comprises beasts, idiots, and babies, who were not under moral obligation during their lifetime. They are in the Garden\ purely out of God's favor. The other class is that of those who were under1 moral obligation, and for these, he says, the Garden is in one respect reward and in another respect favor. He explains:

T E PROMISE A D T E T R A H N H H E T

I t is favor to them because if they were refused it, they would not be wronged. For God's previous help, favor, and benefit to them has put them under obligation to thank Him anyway and to avoid disobedience. So even if God were not to reward them after their works and did not give them ease, He still would not be unjust to them. And so His reward to them is a favor. As for its being a reward, that is because their good deeds demand from God's generosity [reading ju'd instead of wujiid] and liberality that He give them ease, which becomes the result and fruit of their deeds. So it is a reward in this respect, although a favor from the aspect we have mentioned. This is the doctrine of many of the believers in God's Justice among the Mu'tazila and the Shi'a. Opposed to it are the Basran Mu'tazilites, the Jahmiyya, and the determinists v~ho follow them.

'

Actually the Muctazilites were not agreed whether repentance directly effects the cancellation of punishment or does so by God's favor. Al-Mufid's doctrine is the same as that of the Baghdadis, who said that God by His favor does away with the punishment on occasion ('ind) of the sinner's repentance. The Basrans, says 'Abd al-JabbPr, hold that repentance itself does away with the punishment. l At any rate, al-Mufid holds that repentance is always accepted by i' God up to the time when a man's life is despaired of. Deathbed repentI ance, he says, is ruled out by the Quran, and everyone he knows agrees I with this. a The Quran verses are clear, and 'Abd al-JabbPr expresses I the same doctrine as a l - M ~ f i d . ~ Al-Mufid gives his definition of repentance: I say that the essence of repentance is sorrow for the past in the form of repentance to God. And its condition is thcds[sion-not to return to the same kind of sin for the rest of one's life. He who does not include this in his repentance is not repentant, even though in fact he does not commit the same kind of disobedience to God again. This is the doctrine of the majority of the believers in God's Justice. I do not know anything I could relate from the Imamite theologians concerning it. 'Abd al-SalHm al-JubbZ'i and his followers oppose it.4 'Abd al-JabbHr says that sorrow for the past is the root, and the decision about the future is its condition. Since 'Abd al-JabbPr generally follows AbE HHshim al-JubbHYi(called 'Abd al-SalHm by al-Mufid), it does not seem likely that Abii HZshim's disagreement is on this point, as the editor of the Awi'il states in his note on the passage just quoted. 6 Rather Abii HHshimYs disagreement is in his insistence that repentance
Sharh, p. 790; al-Mughni, XIV, 312. Awi'il, p. 60. Al-Mufid cites Quran, 4:18, and 23:99-100. 'ABDAL-JABBAR, Tanzitt al-Qur'in 'an al-mafi'in (Cairo: al-Jamlliyya, 1329 H.), Awi'il, p. 61. Sharh, p. 792. Awci'il, p. 61, note 1 .

The point here is that for al-Mufid and the Mu'tazilites of Baghdad God is obliged by His generosity, but not by His justice, to reward the obedient in the Garden. The Basrans say God is obliged in justice. In practice it makes no difference, since God is strictly obliged according to both theories. The difference lies in the conception of man's status before God. In the Baghdad scheme, man has no strict right to a reward for his obedience. I n the Basran scheme he has. Both parties are opposed to the determinists, who would say that God is not obliged at all.

,:

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Repentance obviates the impending punishment for a sin, but there is, disagreement about how it does this. Al-Mufid says:

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The Imamites agree that repentance is accepted by the favor of God. There is no rational necessity for it to cancel out the punishment which is deserved. And were it not revealed that it does in fact cancel it out, it would be rationally possible for the penitents to remain in their state of guilt. The traditionists agree with them in this. The Mu'tazilites are all against it, claiming that repentance necessarily cancels out punishment.
Awd'il, pp. 91-92. Zbid., p. 15,

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p. 81.
4

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT

1 I

be universal. He demands that a man repent of sin not simply for a particular reason, but because it is evil.' So the man who truly repents must resolve not merely to avoid that particular kind of sin, but all sins, since they are all evil.2 Pursuing his notion of repentance as sorrow for a particular kind of sin or evil, al-Mufid says: On repentance with persistence in similar evil. I say that such repentance is valid even if the penitent believes what he persists in doing to be evil, so long as the motives for what he has left behind and what he will decide upon in the future are different. But if the motives are the same, then his repentance is invalid. This is the doctrine of all the believers in God's Unity except Abii Hiishim al-JubbZ'i. He claims that repentance of evil is not valid when there is persistence in what is believed to be evil even though it is really good, not to speak of the case in which it is evil. 'Abd al-Jabblr, without naming Abii Hiishim, expounds and holds

the injury.l When one kills a believer, reparation involves surrender to the family of the murdered person so that they can choose between pardon, revenge, or blood money.a The way al-Mufid deals with a special case of murder shows something of the relation of reason and revelation in his theology. He says:

As for the case of one who considers the murder of believers


to be licit and kills a believer considering it right, reason says nothing against his repenting and his repentance being accepted. However revelation has come from the truthful Imams of Guidance to the effect that he who does so will never consent to repent and never will repent in such a way as to evade the punishment: and this by his own choice, not coerced or predetermined -just a traditions have come down from the Imams that a bastard child will not behave nobly, and when he comes of age he will not choose to believe. And if he does profess faith, he is doing so only doubtfully or hypocritically, without true belief and submission. And similarly revelation has come from God that the destination of a number of His creatures is the Fire, and that they will never believe in Him nor leave their unbelief and oppression. In agreement with this thesis is the consensus of the legists and relators of tradition among the Imarnites. I have not found . .. . among the Imamite theologians a doctrine to relate concerning this thesis.
-

,,

the doctrine which al-Mufid mentions as opposing his own. The belief of the person who repents is most important. If he goes on doing what is 1 actually evil, believing it to be good, then his repentance is valid accord,/ ing to 'Abd al-Jabbgr. s Repentance for a result is impossible before the result has taken place, says al-Mufid. If someone sets in operation a necessary cause of another's injury and immediately repents of doing so, he avoids punishment for both the cause and its effect. But when the necessary effect takes place, he must repent of that too.6 All agree that if another party has been harmed in the wrongdoing, a condition for valid repentance is to do what is possible to repair
\

AL-BAGHD~~D~, al-fraq,p. 114. 'ABD AL-JABBKR, p. 791, holds al-Farq bain Shark, the same doctrine without mentioning Abii Hiishim. a Cf. ibid., p. 794, where Abii Hiishim is said to hold, against Abii 'Ali the necessit of repentance for all sins. 8 Awd' l, p. 62. i Al-Mughni, XIV, 376. ti Ibid., and Shark, p. 794. 6 Awd' l, pp. 106-07. On the problem of generated effects, see supra, pp. 169-73. i

The interesting point here is al-Mufid's assertion that certain classes of people can repent or can accept faith, but that they definitely will not. And this certitude comes from revelation. I t is a good example of al-Mufid's relation to a Mu'tazilite thesis. He can accept the thesis theoreticaIly but deny, from revealed knowledge, that the case will ever actually come to be. And as he asserts this he is careful to point out that the people concerned will still be acting by their own free choice. A Muctazilite would allow no such limitation from tradition upon what is rationally possible.

AL-MUF~D, il, p. 62; 'ABD AL-JABBKR, Awti' al-Mughni, XIV, 332. Awd'il, p. 63. Ibid. This is also applicable to the case discussed supra, pp. 248-50.

THE TEIEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

'1'118 PKOMISI? A N D T I l B 1'IIKBI\T

Other traditions handed down on the authority of the Imams were part of Shi'ite belief about death, Judgment Day, and the interval between. One of these beliefs is the raj'a, or return of the dead. AlMufid says: The Imamites agree on the necessity of the return of many of the dead to this world before the Day of Resurrection, although they differ as to the meaning of "return of the dead." And the Mu'tazilites, the Kharijites, the Zaidis, the Murji'ites, and the traditionists are agreed against everything we have enumerated. l Later al-Mufid explains what he and the vast majority of Imamites mean by the return of the dead: that before the Day of Resurrection, in the age of the Mahdi, God will restore to this world two groups of the dead. He will raise up both the good who have avoided grave sin in their lifetime, and the very bad. God will give the former victory and revenge over the latter, and then both will die to await the Day of Resurrection and their respective eternal reward and p u r i ~ h r n e n t . ~ A Muctazilite in debate with al-Mufid points out a difficulty with this doctrine. I t might be, he says, that the most infamous enemies of the Shi'a such as Yazid, Shimr, and Ibn Muljam would repent if they were given another chance on earth.3 Then they would escape eternity in hell. Al-Mufid says there are two possible answers: that although reason is not against such an event happening, there are good, solid traditions which say those persons will in fact be in the Fire forever. A second answer is that God would not accept the repentance of thosr unbelievers, just as He did not accept that of Pharaoh. His wisdom for bids His ever accepting their r e p e n t a n ~ e . ~ Awt'il, p. 13. Ibid., p. 50.

Thcn, rc:plics the Mu'tazilitc, this mcans t.li;lt God is ctiticirig thcm to do cvil, sincc they know that cvcn if' they wcrc to cliarlge their ways thcir repentance woultl not be acccptcd. No, rcplics al-Mufid, for thcir past cxpcriencc of ~~unishrncnt after dcath dctcrs them from wishing to add to it by more evil deeds when tfley are brought back to life.' The Mu'tazilite replies by asking how he can imagine that the people who return would continue their opposition to God since, as the Shi'ites suppose, they have already experienced the punishment of the grave and therefore know what is in store for wrongdoers. Al-Mufid answers that their memory of past torments does not prevent them from doubting the future. They think they are rising after death in order to rule the vorld, and seeing what they take to be a real chance, they will continue the conflict as they did in their former lives.

, -

)
,

Al-Ashcari relates that there was a dispute about the Torment of the Grave, and he gives three positions: Some, the Mu'tazilites and the Kharijites, denied it. Some, the majority of the people of Islam, asserted it. And others claimed that God gives ease and pain to the spirits which do not affect their bodies, which are in the grave. The sources for the doctrine to the Torment of the Grave are traditions and interpretation of certain verses of the Quran according to those traditions. A theologian's own conception of the nature of man, however, will affect the way he interprets those traditions. Al-Mufid, with his theory that the essence of man is spirit, does not fit into the third of al-Ash'ari's categories. Al-Mufid asserts the reality of the examination which the dead undergo in the grave, but he says that the reward and punishment do not take place there. He says: Ibid., p. 117. Ibid., p. 118. Maqdit, p. 430.

Yazid was the Umayyad caliph under whom al-Husain was killed. Shimr led the attack at Karbala. Ibn Muljam murdered 'Ali. AL-MUF~D, al-Fu,rPl, pp. 115-16.

THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT

On the easing and tormenting of the people in the grave: wherein consists their reward and punishment, wllence it corncs to them, and what is their form in those circumstances. I say that God makes bodies for them like the bodies they had in his world in order to give ease in them to believers and torment unbelievers and serious sinners - not in their bodies which can be seen rotting in the grave, corrupting and disintegrating with the passage of time. This [i.e., the reward and punishment] does not occur in the grave, and it takes place according to our doctrine on the soul. I hold that the meaning of man, the one under moral obligation, is "a subsistent being, produced in time, outside the categories of substance and accident." With me in this are traditions from the Truthful Ones of Muhammad's family. I do not know of any Imamite theologians before me who have a doctrine on the subject that I could speak of, nor do I know of any difference between myself and the Imamite legists and traditionists on this.l The Sunnite tradition on the examination in the grave involved two angels named Munkar and Nakir.' Al-Mufid's Shi'ite tradition is more elaborate. He says: On the descent of two angels upon the people in the grave and their questions about belief. I say that is true. And the consensus of the Shi'a and traditionists is for it. The explanation of the whole is that God sends down upon whomever He wants to give ease after death two angels named Mubashshir and Bashir to ask him about his Lord, His Prophet, and his close associate [wali, i.e., 'Ali]. He who has departed this world in belief and righteousness answers them the truth. The purpose of their questions is to evoke a sign showing that he deserves ease, and they find it in his answer. And He sends down upon whomever He wants to torment in al-barzakh two angels named Nikir and Nakir, whom He commissions to torment him. The aim of their questions is to evoke a sign showing that he deserves to be punished, which he gives by his
1

answer: namely stammering about the truth or information revealing his misbelief, or his confusion [using the alternate reading] and inability to answer. The two angels descend only upon such people in the grave as we have named. And their questions are directed only to those who are living after death, according to what we have described. This is the doctrine of the transmitters of traditions among the Imamites. And they have traditions about what I have outlined. None of their theologians before me has a teaching on the subect which I know and could relate in accordance with the plan [of this book]. l Al-MIA?~ gives a slightly different account in his "al-MasB'il alsarawiyya," where he makes no mention of the fate of the believer who has grave sins to answer for. According to the traditions, al-Mufid says, "not every dead person is tormented in the grave, but only he who was a pure unbeliever; not everyone who has died is given ease, but only the pure believer. Others are not considered."% God accomplishes the reward and punishment of the people in the qdib} like the grave by putting the spirit in a body (literally, "sheathYY' body it had in this world, and the person remains in the Garden or the place of torment until the trumpet is sounded on the Day of Judgment.8 'Abd al-JabbHr claims the charge that the Mu'tazilites denied the Torment of the Grave comes from a slander Laid against them by Ibn al-Rhandi, who had only the case of Dir5r b. 'Amr to support his a c c ~ s a t i o n However, because of 'Abd al-JabbHrYsview of the nature .~ of man, he is unsure of its time, and he suggests that it takes place in the interval between two blasts of the trumpet on Judgment Day. God must enliven a man in order to torment him, and by "man" 'Abd alJabbHr means his body. Finally, while 'Abd al-Jabbir is farther from the traditions than al-Mufid in putting off the punishment of the grave
-

'-

a
8

Awg'il, pp. 49-50. J. WENSINCK A. and

TRITCON, dhZb al-kabr," E.I.P, I, 186-87. "' A

Awc'il, p. 49. Al-Sarawiyya," p. 53. Ibid. Sharb, p. 730. Ibid., p. 732.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT

till Judgment Day, he is closer in maintaining that it takes place in the grave. Al-Mufid's doctrine on man led him to speak of the "punishment of the people in the grave" which took place in al-barzakh For 'Abd alJabbFu, al-barzakh is not a place, but "a great and horrible thing," a synonym for the torment.' Of the two angels, Mubashshir and Bashir, and their good offices for believers, 'Abd al-Jabblr says nothing. VISIONAT DEATH. Al-Mufid interprets the traditions which say that the dying man sees Muhammad and 'Ali as referring to intellectual knowledge, not visual perception. What he sees intellectually is "the fruit of friendship with them or of doubt about them."2 And for this explaining-away of the traditions he says he has the agreement of "the reasoners among the Imamites." On the question whether the dying man sees angels, al-Mufid gives his own opinion as the same as what he said about the vision of Muhammad and 'Ali. But he adds anothers possibility, which would allow the vision of angels but not of Muhammad and 'Ali. He says: On the dying seeing angels. My own thesis on this is like my thesis on the vision of the Apostle and the Commander of the Faithful. And it is also possible that he might see them with his eyes by God's adding to their rays that by which he sees their thin, transparent bodies. The same is not possible in the case of the Apostle of God and the Commander of the Faithful because of the difference in construction of their bodies from the bodies of angels. This is the doctrine of a number of the theologians of the Imamites and, among the Mu'tazila, of al-Balkhi and a number o f , the Baghdadis. Al-Mufid does not explain what the difference in the angels' bodies is which makes them visible to man's eyes assisted by God, and why
1

God could not similarly enhance a man's vision to see Muhammad and 'Ali. Probably it is because the bodies of the Prophet and the Imams are in the Garden1 and therefore are not present to the dying man.

h and ) The Quran speaks of a reckoning ( a the weighing of men's deeds. Al-Mufid explains:
I say that the reckoning is a man's acknowledgment of what he was commanded to do in this world, and it is restricted to the disobedient among the believers. As for the unbelievers, their reckoning is the recompense they deserve, and the good believers have their reward "without reckoning [Quran, 40-401.'' And I say that the ones in charge of the reckoning I have mentioned are the Apostle of God, the Commander of the Faithful, and the Imams descended from them. This is by God's command. And He put them in charge so as to honor them and distinguish them by their station and glorify them above the rest of men. Abundant traditions to this effect have come by the Truthful Ones from God. And God has said: "Say to them: Act! God will behold your action, and so will His Apostle and the faithful ones [Quran, 9:105]." That is the Imams, according to the explanation whose truth cannot be doubted or questioned. . . . And as for the Scales, it is the balancing of the works and what they deserve. The ones who do the weighing referred to are the Imams of the family of Muhammad who are in charge of the reckoning. This thesis has the consensus of the Imamite traditionists. I have not heard of any doctrine of previous theologians on this subject. 8
The connection here with the doctrine of intercession is obvious. The reckoning is a weighing, and the believer who has been disobedient will need help. Fortunately for the Imamite believer, God has put the Imams in charge of weighing his deeds against what they deserve.
Cf. ibid., p. 45; see also supra, p. Awci'il, pp. 51-52.
113.

Ibid.

a
3

AwZ'il, p. 47. Ibid., p. 48.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-WF~D

TIIE PIlOMISlL AND TIIE 'I'IIRl!AT

The Path (al-;irit) is a "bridge between the Garden and the Fire. The believer's feet are firm upon it, while the feet of unbelievers slip from it into the Fire."' The interpretation al-Mufid gives here is literal and it stresses belief, saying nothing about good or bad deeds. 'Abd al-Jabbfir insists that the Scales are to be taken literally, not metaphorically. He says that God can make light a sign of good and darkness a sign of disobedience, and place them on the pans of a balance. O r He can write each upon pages and weigh the pages against each other. The reckoning, 'Abd al-Jabbir says, is done by God's "creating necessary knowledge in one's heart that he deserves such a reward and such a punishment." 'Abd al-Jabbfir's maininterest here is to show that this kind of reckoning can be done in an instant, conforming to the quranic phrase that God is a swift reckoner. 'Abd al-JabbZrYsexplanations here attempt to save the traditions from being explained away as mere metaphors. ,The obvious difference between his explanations and the Shi'ites' is that he makes no reference to intercession. The Path too is taken literally by 'Abd al-Jabbir. He is careful, however, to deny traditionist elaborations which would make it a kind of test, for the time of testing is past on Judgment l . ) a ~ . ~ The Quran also speaks of the limbs bearing witness on Judgment Day.5 Al-Mufid does not take this literally. He says: O n the speech of the limbs and their witnessing. I say that what the Quran says about it is metaphorical, not literal, just as God has said: "Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke and said to it and to the earth: Come, both of you willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient [Quran: 41 :Il]." No speech really came from them. Ibid., p. 51. Sharh, p. 735. Ibid., p. 736. Ibid., p. 737.
Quran, 24:24; 36:65.

'l'liis is tile doctrinc of Abii 1-Q5siln al-Balkhi and a number of thc Pcoplc of Justicc. Opposcd to it arc many of the Mu'tazila and all the anthropolnorpllisls and clcternminists.l 'Abd al-JabbZr, howcvcr, clcnies tlrat the witnessing of the lirnbs is a metaphor. He ofkrs two possiblc explanations: that God creates speech in the lilnbs, or that God n~nkcs each of t l ~ c limbs live separately so that they all can bear witness. He notes that Abii H5shim has rejected the latter interpretation and inclined to the former. a Neither al-Mufid nor 'Abd al-JabbZr interprets literally the tradition that the dead can be tormented by the weeping of his family. Al-Mufid says :

I say this would by tyranny and is impossible to God's justice and wisdom. The tradition about it is only that the Prophet passed by a Jew who had died, and his family were weeping over him. He said: "They weep over him, and he is being tormented." He did not say he was being tortured by their weeping over him. This is the doctrine of all the People of Justice. Opposed to it are the believers in fate and determinism.3
The wording of the tradition, according to 'Abd al-Jabbfir, is that the dead man is tortured by the weeping. But he interprets it to mean that the man is tormented because of the bequest he left for paid mourners. I t appears from this section that 'Abd al-JabbZr, who presumably is representative of Basran doctrine, favors a generally more literal interpretation of eschatological traditions than al-Mufid does.

Al-Mufid says that only unbelievers are in the Fire forever. Since the essential part of man is spirit, the dead may be given temporary '\-___ . 1

a
8 4

ti

Awt'il, pp. 103-04. Sharb, p. 737. Awt'il, p. 104. Sharh, p. 732.

THE TIIEOLOOY OP ALSIIAIKII AL-MUP~D

bodies in which they can be rcwarded or punished in the irlterval between death and the Day of Resurrection. Imamite believers who are sincere may be purified of their guilt in al-barzakh, or they may be left in the state of death until the Resurrection. On Judgment Day even grave sins of the believer will be pardoned because of the intercession of the Prophet, the Imams, and Imamites who themselves have not committed grave sins. In support of his doctrine that no believers will be in the Fire forever, al-Mufid argues against the Mu'tazilites that good and bad deeds do not cancel one another out, and I . ! that God is not being false to His word when He forgives. The sinner's repentance wins pardon by God's generosity, not, as the Basrans say, directly by His justice. Repentance for a sin based on a particular motive is valid; the reason need not be, as 'Abd alJabblr and Abii Hlshim hold, the general consideration that sin is evil. A person who kills a believer and calls it right will never repent. This is known by tradition from the Imams, not by reason. I n the age of the Mahdi the very good and the very bad will be brought to life again for a final struggle. At least some of the people who are in the grave will be punished or rewarded in temporary bodies before the general Resurrection. Al-Mufid denies that the dying see Muhammad and 'Ali. He admits, however, that God could make them see angels. On Judgment Day the Prophet, 'Ali, and the Imams will operate the Scales which decide the fate of the sinful believer. The Path is interpreted literally, but the Testimony of the Limbs is explained as a metaphor by al-Mufid. 'Abd al-Jabblr argues for a literal interpretation of the Scales and the Testimony of the Limbs. The key to al-Mufid's doctrine on the Promise and the Threat is his Shi'ite doctrine of the effectiveintercession of the Prophet and Imams for even the gravely sinful believer. Here he is in direct conflict with a basic principle of Muctazilite theology.
i

CHAPTER XI

LEGAL MATTERS

Although the sciences of kakiin andjiqh do not overlap, they border on each other. And since al-Mufid was a jurist as well as a theologian, a study of his theology must pay same attention to his basic legal views. 1 This chapter will have three parts. The first, on the legal stance of the Imamite, will consider al-Mufid's doctrine on commanding the good and forbidding the bad, on dissimulation (taqiyya), and how far cooperation with the wicked is permitted. The second part of this chapter, on the Roots of jurisprudence, will consider what al-Mufid says about apparent and hidden meanings, ambiguous passages, consensus (ijmd'), analogical reasoning (qiyEs), criticism of traditions, and abrogation of legal rules. The third part will show something of al-Mufid's own methods in his criticism of the work of two Imamite jurists, Ibn BZbiiya and Ibn al-Junaid al-IskZfi.

In the Chapter of the Names and the Judgments al-Mufid was seen to hold an inadequate distinction between faith and Islam, Islam being wider than faith. And each of these had its own contrary. The
For a study of the early development of Imamite jurisprudence see R. BRUN"Les lytSl al-Jiqhimirnites B leur stade ancien (Xe et XIe si&cle)," Le Shi'isnie in imcimite, pp. 201-13, especially pp. 204-08, which deal with al-Mufid. For accounts of Imamite jurisprudence in its more deveIoped stages, see Munsnu AL- hi^, A'yan aal-Shi'a (Damascus: Matba'at Ibn Zaidiin, 1944 ff.), I, Part 2, 265-95; Die and H. LOSCHNER, dogmatischen Gncndlagen des filitischn Rechts ("Erlanger Juristische Abhandlungen," IX; Cologne : Heyrnanns, 1971).
SCHVIG,

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

LEGAL MATTERS

contrary of Islam is kufr ridda, which means open apostasy from the Law of Islam. The contrary of faith is kufr milla, in which one adheres to the Law of Islam even though he is not strictly a believer. And an essential object of belief was seen to be the rights of 'Ali and his descendants to the Imamate. Al-Mufid's designation of the legal status of territories follows this same scheme. He says:

comes to the finer distinction, within Muslim countries, between the territory of Islam and the territory of faith, his criterion is not preponderance but appearance. Thus a Muslim district in which there is a significant number of Imamites practicing the Shi'ite Law couId be regarded as a territory of faith.

I say that the legal status (hukm) of a territory (&) depends on what is preponderant there. Every locality where unbelief is preponderant is a territory of unbelief (dlr kufr) . Every territory where faith is preponderant is a territory of faith. And every territory where Islam, but not faith, is preponderant is a territory of Islam. God has said, describing Paradise: "Happy the house (dlr) of the pious [Quran, 16:30] !" though there are infants and insane people there too. And He said, describing the Fire: "I will show you the house of the evildoers [Quran, 7:145]," although angels obedient to God are to be found there also. So He judged the two territories according to the legal status of the preponderant party in them. And I say accordingly that every district in a country of Islam in which appears the Law of Islam, but not the doctrine of the Imamate of Muhammad's family, is a territory of Islam, not a territory of faith. And every district of Islam, be its people many or few, in which the Law of Islam and the doctrine of the Imamate of the family of Muhammad appear is both a territory of Islam and a territory of faith. I hold that a territory can be a territory of kufr milla even though it is a territory of Islam, but it cannot be so when it is a territory of faith. This is the teaching of a number of the transmitters of traditions among the Shi'a of Muhammad's family. And very many Mu'tazilites agree with the premises and bases of what I have said.l
.rhis description contains a slight and probably intentional inconsistency which reflects the fluidity of real-life politics i i al-Mufid's day. I n the general statement he said the status of a territory follows what is preponderant in it. The difference between a country under Muslim and one under non-Muslim rule is easy to grasp. But when al-Mufid
1

A very practical question for the Imamite believer living after the disappearance of the Twelfth Imam was that of his obligation to enforce observance of the Law. Al-Mufid's doctrine on this subject was mild, not differing from the teaching of Sunnites (excluding, that is, the Mu'tazilites and the Kharijites). First he says that it is a duty of the collectivity (fard 'all 1-kqlya). Someone in the community ought, by word, to command the good and forbid the bad in either of two cases: when the wrongdoer would not otherwise know the right course, or when there is good reason to suppose that speaking out would be for the common good (al-mqlaha). As for taking action to enforce the observance of duty and prevent violation of the Law, that is up to the sultan, who is the de facto holder of power, or the one whom he appoints or permits to use force. Al-Mufid says:

I say that commanding the good and forbidding the bad by the tongue is a community obligation, on the condition of its being needed to give arguments to one who otherwise would be ignorant of them, or when it is known or with good reason supposed to be for the common good. As for stretching out the hand to [enforce] it, that is up to the sultan to enjoin upon the man he appoints for this task, or the one to whom he permits it. No alteration of the above condition will be legitimate. This is a doctrine derived from the theses on Justice and the Imamate, no other. 1
Although a11 MusIims, even the Murji'ites,

accepted in principle

Awd'il, pp. 70-71.

Ibid., p. 98. The Murji'ite creed, "Fiqh Akbar I," states this principle in its second article. The See WENSINCK, Muslim Creed, p. 103.

THE THEOLOQY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

LEGAL MATTERS

the duty to command the good and forbid evil, there was a wide difference in its interpretation. The Murji'ites held it as a duty to speak out against evil, but they forbade Muslims to take up the sword against Muslim except in self defence. The Mu'tazilites however taught that one should use force when that is necessary and possible. Al-Ash'ari wrote: "The Mu'tazilites, except for al-Asamm, agree on the obligation to command the good and forbid the bad when one is able and has the power, by the tongue, the hand, and the sword, howsoever they have the power." 'Abd al-Jabbfr relates that the only disagreement was between Abti 'Ali and Aba Hfshim, about the source of the obligation. The former held that it is from reason, and the latter that it is from revelation. 'Abd al-Jabbfr agrees with Abfi Hfshim, and he distinguishes between the obligations involved in commanding and in forbidding. We are simply bound, he says, to command the good, but we do not have to enforce it. Thus no one is bound to carry an unwilling person to the mosque for his obligatory prayer. The case is different however with forbidding what is bad. For example, when we have mastery over a drinker of wine, we are obliged to use force to stop him if words are not effective. This duty, moreover, applies to individuals, not just the community. DISSIMULATION (taqiyyaj. "Commanding the good and forbidding the bad" refers to enforcement of legal prescriptions recognized by all Muslims. Quite another question is that of the beliefs which are peculiar to 'the Imamite party. Far from being bound to push these upon others who are not of his party, the Imamite is often allowed and sometimes obliged to protect himself by concealing them. Al-Mufid explains that the liceity or obligation of dissimulation depends upon circumstances. He says :
1 See ThSbit QutnS's poem in the Kitrib al-aghini, cited b y VANVLOTEN, pp. 162-63. 2 Maqcilrit, p. 278. Sharh, pp. 744-45.

I say that dissimulation i n religion is permitted in case of fear for one's life, and it is allowed in certain cases of fear for one's property and for some types of expediency (isti$%). And I say it may sometimes be obligatory and a duty, and at other times not. And there are times when practicing it is better than omitting it, and at other times omitting it is better - although practicing it is excusable, pardonable, and without blame. (Chapter) And I say it is legitimate in speech in case of necessity, and sometimes it is obligatory by a sort of favor and expediency. But it is not permitted to practice it to the extent of killing a believer, nor to do what is certain or probable to be harmful to religion. This doctrine is derived exclusively from the principles of the partisans of Justice and [leaving out ahl] the Imamate, not the Mu'tazilites, Zaidis, Kharijites, or the crowd of people generally called traditionists. 1
The only practical limit al-Mufid puts upon dissimulation is doing something in the order of magnitude of killing a believer to conceal one's own religion. The doctrine of dissimulation is closely connected with that of the occultation of the Twelfth Imam. I n fact the Imam's hiding is used as an example justifying the believer's own dissimulation. I n answering objections of Mu'tazilites and others to the Imam's need for concealment, al-Mufid refers to this rule of Imamite conduct during the Occultation. The objection is that the first eleven Imams, though at times severely persecuted, never went into hiding. I n fact, the objection runs, the Imamite party is now stronger and more numerous than i t ever was in the times of the first eleven Imams. Therefore the Twelfth has no good reason to stay hidden - if he really exists. a Al-Mufid's answer is that the situation of the earlier Imams was quite different from that of the Twelfth because the former had publicly enjoined dissimulation, forbidden revolt against the rulers of the time, and rebuked insurgents, Therefore they and their followers were allowed to live in peace. I t is, on the other hand, generally known that the Twelfth
Awa-'il, pp. 96-97.

AL-MUP~D,i m s rasa'il, Fourth Letter, p. 2. f

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF?D

LEGAL MATTERS

Imam, when he comes, will lead a revolt against the evil rulers of his age. When the Mahdi appears, dissimulation will no longer be legitimate for his adherents, and everybody knows this. Thereforeit is in the interest of all who now hold power to secure their own position by killing the Twelfth Imam if they get a chance. Hence the Twelfth Imam must stay in hiding until the moment is right for him to appear in arms as God's instrument for righting the wrongs of the wor1d.l The Mahdi's coming will be heralded by unmistakable cosmic signs such as the halting of the sun at noon, voices from the sky, and the rising of numbers of the dead. Until this happens, the Imamite's duty is to live in quiet submission to the rulers of his age.

to cooperate positively with the wicked. Al-Mufid distinguishes six cases:

I n the present time, while the believer is living peacefully under an unjust government, the question arises how far he is allowed
1 Ibid., pp. 2-3. "None of his fathers was duty-bound to rise in armed revolt, proclaim the end of dissimulation, and rally supporters around himself. But this is just what the Imam of our age must do when he appears. His fathers, on the other hand, allowed [their followers] to practice dissimulation before their enemies, engage in social intercourse with them, and be present at their assemblies. I n fact they publicly forbade [their followers] to draw the sword against them and warned against inciting anyone to do so. Instead they pointed forward to the Awaited One who would be descended from them and would come at the end of time. By him God would remove affliction from the Community, revive, and guide it. "When he appeared, he would not be allowed to dissimulate. Angels in the sky would call out his name; Gabriel and Michael would rally the people to swear allegiance to him. Before he comes, the signs of the resurrection will appear on earth and in the sky. And when he appears, the dead will come to life. . "Since, then, it was clear to the sultans and kings reigning in the time of his ancestors that, far from holding it religious duty to rise in armed revolt against their enemies, they disapproved of any incitement to such action, and that the religion by which they approached God consisted of dissimulation, restraining the hand and guarding the tongue, carrying out the prescribed worship, and serving God exclusively by good works, they guaranteed the safety of their lives." See also ibid., First Letter, p. 13. The answer to the question is substantially the same, but the cosmic signs announcing the time when the believer is to lay aside dissimulation are even more explicit: "They hold that armed revolt is not licit until the sun stands still at noon, a voice is heard from heaven calling each man by his name, there is a sinking-down in the desert, and the last of the Imams of Truth arises with the sword."

On helping the wicked, working for them, following them, gaining from them, and using their wealth. [a] I say that helping the wicked in the right and in getting what is their due is permitted and sometimes obli~atorv. " --I[b] As for assisting them in injustice and aggression, it is forbidden and illicit to do so willingly. [c] As for cooperating with them in undertakings, it is allowed only with the permission of the Imam of the time and according to the conditions for conduct he lays down. This applies exclusively to Imamites, for reasons which are too long to explain in this book. [dl As for following them, there is nothing against that, so long as it does not appear to involve harm for the People of Faith and probable employment in [acts of] disobedience. [el As for acquiring property from them, it is permitted according to the conditions we have described. And making use of their wealth, even though it be tainted, is licit to those we have named of the believers, not the rest of men. [f] As for wealth in their hands that comes specifically from the People of Knowledge, if it is fixed and determined as such, it is illicit for anyone to accept any of it willingly. If he is forced to do so, as one might be forced to eat carrion and blood, it is permitted to accept it in order to allay the need without seeking much of it, as we have explained. This doctrine belongs exclusively to the People of the Imamate. And I know of none of them who agree with the adversaries in this matter. l
The question of whether one's wealth is acquired licitly or not has important consequences for the validity or invalidity of legal taxes paid with it. a
a Ibid., pp. 98-99: "On him who fulfills an obligation by means of forbidden wealth: does the obligation cease or not? "I say that duties to God are not fulfilled by one who transgresses His command in performing them. For they are intended only for the fulfillment of His command in such a way as to deserve a reward. So if the person under obligation goes against the rules, steps outside proper bounds, and performs the act in a way that is forbidden,

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

The client in case "c" quoted above is told that he needs permission and direction from the Imam of his age. Yet the precise difficulty, which al-Mufid avoids here, is that the Imam of that age was unavailable. The alternative course for the believer will be considered in the second part of this chapter under the heading of ijtihid.

Thc rolc or rciuon and tlic scierlcc of latiguagc is to cxplicatc the contents of thc thrcc sources. Tllc scicncc of tradition-criticism is conccrtlcd with tile autlic~iticityof tiic last two sources. The roots of jurisprudence in tile Sunnite scheme are thc Book, tlie surina of the Prophet, consetisus, nrtd analogical reasoning. Al-Mufid will he seen to deny the legitimacy of analogical reasoning and to refuse any consensus that does not include the Imams.

ROOTS JUIUSPRUDENCE. OF
I

According to al-Mufid's arrangement, the sources of revealed Law are three : the Quran, the sunna, and the saying of the Imams. He says : Know that the roots of the judgments of the Law are three: the Book of God, the sunna of His Prophet, and the sayings of the pure Imams after him. And the roads leading to knowledge of what is prescribed in these roots are three. One of them is reason ('aql). I t is the way to understanding the arguments of the Quran and the indications of traditions. The second is language (lisrln). I t is the way to understanding the meaning of speech. The third of them is traditions. I t is the way to establishing the roots themselves: the Book, the sunna, and the sayings of the Imams. The traditions leading to knowledge of what we have mentioned are three: multiattested traditions, tradition of one accompanied by evidence testifying to its truthfulness, and tradition with an incomplete chain of authorities but which the People of Truth act upon by common agreement. l
it is disobedience and a crime deserving punishment and censure. I t is absurd that the obligations God Iays down should be fulfilled by disobeying Him, that approach to God should be opposition to Him, and that what merits a reward should also necessitate punishment. I t is certain, then, that the obligations which God has laid down cannot be fulfilled except by obeying their rules, not by violating the conditions God has made. So what is done obediently and is free from opposition to God in its conditions, dimensions, and substance, fulfills the obligation -even thpugh it may happen to be connected with evil actions which do not affect the dimensions and substance of the duty, as we have said. "This is a principle whose understanding will serve to distinguish meritorious acts from those which, dough similar to them, are not meritorious. I t is the doctrine of the majority of the Imamites, many of the Mu'tazila, and a number of the traditionists." 1 AL-MUPiD, "Ugiil al-fiqh," in Aeii L- FAT^ MWMMAD cALjl AL-KAR&JA&, B. Kanz al-fawa"id (Mashhad: lithograph, 1323 H.), pp. 186-87.

'

One of the problems in interpreting prescriptions in the Quran and the sunna which has a special connection with theology is that of the universal and particular. The Muctazilite thesis of the threat of eternity in hell for the gravely sinning Muslim was argued also in the realm of tafsir: whether such quranic statements as, "Whoso disobeys God and His messenger and transgresses His limits, He will make him enter Fire, where he shall dwell forever," l are restricted to non-Muslims or, as the Mu'tazilites held, are universal. All sides agreed that some expressions, words, and statements by themselves seem at first to be general and others to be particular. The problem was whether there is a linguistic form which will tell the hearer or reader when a general word is meant in a universal sense, applying to all, and when in a particular sense, applying to some. Al-Mufid says: On universality and particularity (al-'umcm wal-khusg;) . I say there is a form in language for the more particular sense of the particular. There is no linguistic form for the more particular sense of the general and the more universal sense of the general. What is intended is known only from signs joined to it. This is the doctrine of the majority of Murji'ites and all the Imarnite theologians except some eccentrics who agree with the Mu'tazilites.
Quran, 4:14. For a statement of this problem, see AL-ASH'AR~, "al-L~rna','~ pp. 77-80, NOS.186-192. a AwaJil, p. 59, dropping al-r6jiJa from the last line. The same doctrine is expressed in al-Mufid's "U$fil aI-fiqh," pp. 188-89. See also BRUNSCHVIO, p. 204.

I
1

'I jJ
i

I
I

LEGAL MA'lTERS

In al-Mufid's scheme there are particular statcrncn~swhich arc ohviously so by their form of expression. But tllcre arc also gcricral statements where it is unclear whether they are meant to apply to all the individuals possibly covered by the term or only some of them. The latter would be general statements which are relatively particular, or, as he says, more particular. What al-Mufid is saying, then, is that there is no way to tell from the words of a general statement whether it applies to all or only some of the individuals concerned. Its intent must be made out from other indications. In his "Usfil al-fiqh," al-Mufid rejects the possibility of general statements being made particular by analogy and personal opinion (ra'y), and he says: "Generality is made particular only by a rational proof (dalil al-'aql), the Quran, and well-established sunna."l Al-Mufid is saying that one must look to the context or to other passages in the Quran and traditions or to rational proof. 'Abd al-JabbZr says that a given form can be either universal or particular, and it is determined to one or the other by the intention of the one who uses it. 2 Hence it is necessary to look at the context to find out what the author intends. According to 'Abd al-Jabbiir, if God means a general statement to be taken in a particular sense, He must join to it some indication that this is His intention.8 This indication is the statement's context. He also notes, however, that a rational proof of God's intention is even better, since it can be considered as an indication of God's intent prior to the statement in question. Thus both al-Mufid and 'Abd al-JabbZr admit that a general form can be either universal or particular in its application, and that there must be an added indication determining which it is. Both say that this indication may be a rational proof, although they would no doubt differ as to which proofs they would recognize. As for other indications
1
2

of meaning, 'Abd al-JabbZr demands that they be in the immediate context accompanying the statement in question, whereas al-Mufid is less strict. He says simply that generality can be made particular by the Quran and the sunna.

Besides the Book and the sunna, a third root ofjurisprudence among the Sunnites is consensus. Al-Mufid rejects any form of consensus that does not include the Imams, and he says that the authority of an Imam without the agreement of the rest of the commullity is enough to establish certainty. He says :

I say that consensus of the Community is a valid argument (hyja) because it includes the saying of the Argument [al-huyija, i.e., the Imam]. And so to the consensus of the Shi'a without the consensus [of all Muslims] is a valid argument for the same reason. The basic principle here is the establishment of the truth by the word of the Imam who holds the place of the Prophet. And even if he alone were to say something with which no other man agreed, that would be sufficient argument and proof. In fact the only reason why we have mentioned consensus as an argument is the impossibility of having it without including him, for he has the greatest weight in the Community and is superior to all in good deeds and rightness of word and act. This is the doctrine of the partisans of the Imamate exclusively. Opposed to it are the Mu'tazila, the Murji'a, the Kharijites, and both the qadarite and determinist traditionists. l
The same rejection of any consensus that does not include an Imam occurs in what is probably a debate between al-Mufid and 'Abd alJabbZr. Al-Mufid relates that he was present at an assembly of a group of leading men, among whom was "a shaikh of Rayy, a Mu'tazilite honored both for the station of his ancestors and for his connection with the government."2 The shaikh objects to a legal opinion of al-Mufid's
1 Awd'il, pp. 99-100. The same is said in "U~fil al-fiqh," p. 193. See also BRUNscsvrc, p. 205. a AL-MUF~D, (11-Fqd,p. 97.

8
4

"Uqfil al-fiqh," p. 190. Al-Mughni, XVII, 14-15. Ibid., p. 27. Ibid., p. 28.

LEGAL MATTERS T H E THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH A L - M U F ~ D

on the grounds that it is against consensus, whereupon al-Mufid attacks the shaikh's notion of consensus. "Whose consensus?" al-Mufid asks. The shaikh replies, "The consensus of the jurists known for their legal opinions on the permitted and the forbidden among the jurists of the major cities." Al-Mufid wants to know whether the family of the Prophet is among these jurists. The shaikh answers affirmatively. Then alMufid replies that the jurists of the major cities have differed from 'Ali on many points and have been opposed to his descendants. They held that 'Ali was not preserved from error, that he used his personal opinion (ijtihid al-ra'y) for deciding legal questions, and they have differed from him in many of their judgments. This, however, does not prevent al-Mufid from occasionally appealing to consensus as a supplementary argument. He mentions it against Ibn BHbfiya's opinion that the joys of some people in paradise are not sensual,2 and against the Mu'tazilite thesis that Muslims can remain eternally in hell.3 Because of the "consensus of the Muslims that there is no wahy after the Prophet," al-Mufid will not use this word to describe the speech whereby God imparted knowledge to the imam^.^ And, he argues, Ibn B%bfiyalsdoctrine that the entire Quran was sent down on the Night of Power is against "the plain sense of the Quran, widespread traditions, and the consensus of the scl~olars."5 Finally and most important, unanimous consensus suffices to prove that an isolated tradition (khabar al-wdhid) is certainly authentic. I n al-Mughni 'Abd al-Jabbir is seen to hold that consensus is a valid argument (huja), and that there are two kinds: that of the people as a whole, in simple things, and that of the scholars in matters where the unlearned cannot follow the proofs but can agree with the conlusions.
Ibid., pp. 97-99. Tqhib, p. 54. Ibid., p. 55. Ibid., p. 56. Ibid., p. 58. See infra, p. 299. ' Al-Mughni, XVII, 243. For a thorough investigation o f 'Abd al-JabbHr's doctrine, see &I. BERNAND, 'cL'IJmm61 chez 'Abd al-eabbfir et l'objection d'an-Na~zlm,"
2

It has been seen that al-Mufid's system holds the traditions of the Imams to be a guarantee of the Law, which was a role played by consensus in the Sunnite system. There was, however, another problem to face: how to apply the Law to cases not precisely named in the Quran and traditions. Al-Mufid rejects the Sunnite practice of analogous reasoning. He says:

I say that personal endeavor (ijtihdd) and analogy (qiy6s) upon new cases (haw6dith) are not permitted. Upon every new case that arises there is a special determination (nu;;) from the Truthful Ones - on them be peace ! - according to which one must judge and which one must not overlook in favor of anything else. True and clear traditions have come down from them to this effect. This is the doctrine of the Imamites only. Opposed to it are the majority of the theologians and the jurists of the cities.l
Al-Mufid is rejecting the freedom which Sunnite jurists had exercised during the formative period of the Law and is limiting the.function of the jurist to applying rules given in traditions to cases which they clearly cover. This was a point upon which al-Mufid was challenged by the Sunnites more than once. In an assembly attended by a large number of jurists and theologians, al-Mufid was asked to give his arguments against analogous reasoning. Al-Mufid replied : The proof is: I have found the judgment which my opponents allege as a principle for deriving analogies and from which they draw conclusions to be such that, the case with all its attributes being essentially the same, God could just as well have made an opposite ruling. But if analogous reasoning were a sound procedure, it would not be rationally possible [for God] to make an opposite
Studia Islamica, 30 (1969), 27-38; "Nouvelles Remarques s u r 1'i&nbc chez le Q%di'Abd al-GabbHr," Arabica 19 (1972), 78-85; and L'Accord unanime de la communautb comme findement des statuts Lbgaux de l'lslam d'aprks AbB I-@main al-Bajri ("Collection etudes musulmanes," XI ; Paris: Vrin, 1970). Awi'il, pp. 115-16.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

judgment on the same case, except in view of some difference in its circumstances and change in its description. And in that very possibility which we have described is a refutation of analogous reasoning in legal matters. l The account goes on to say that the audience did not understand, and the questioner began raising objections that missed the point. So al-Mufid had to illustrate his argument by an example which would be clear to all. He said: The Prophet gave a specific ruling which forbade exchange of unequal amounts of wheat. That ruling is a principle, you analogize~ maintain, which is to be applied analogously to prohibit exchange of unequal amounts of rice as well. Yet we know from reason that, the case being the same in every respect, the Eternal One's service could [just as easily] have been made to consist in permitting, rather than forbidding, unequal commerce in wheat. All the qualities of wheat would, in this supposition, be the same. If the ruling which forbade it were due to some intrinsic reason ('illa) in the wheat itself or some quality of the wheat, then it would be impossible to lift the prohibition except after removing the reason or quality. But as we have outlined the case, the same wheat with all its accidents and qualities is present under the prohibition and the permission. This proves the futility of arguing analogically about it. 2 Of course al-Mufid is begging the question here. The very point which he needs to prove and which the Mu'tazilites would not admit, is that God might just as well have allowed unequal commerce in wheat. Al-Mufid used the same argument against analogy at another discussion session, and here an unnamed Mu'tazilite raises a mild objection. He asks: How would you answer the objection that this proof of yours is .
Al-Fwd, p. 50. See also BRUNSCHVIG, p. 206. Al-FwP1, p. 50. The traditions against usury named six commodities in which barter for profit was forbidden: gold, silver, wheat, barley, dates, and raisins. The ?%hiriteschool of Law, which rejected qiycis, argued like al-Mufid against extending the prohibition analogically to other goods. See I. GOLDZIHER, zcihiriten. Ihr LehrDie system und ihr Geschicht (Leipzig: 0. Schulze, 1884), pp. 41-43, especially, p. 42, n. ?
1
3

vr~liclo~ily against sornconc who claims that lcgal rulings arc constri~ining rcasolu ('ikll miijibn), like reasons in strictly riltio~lal qucstiorls? But thcrc is 110jurist who holds this. Rather thcy hold that thcy are mcrely marks (.rimtit) and signs ('alamZt) indicating and revealing, not necessitating, a legal status. And since they are only marks and signs, the opposite legal status is not impossible in a case of the same d~scription.~

As al-Mufid gives this argument, its point is that there is a distinction between the obliging force of purely rational arguments and positive legal analogy. The latter does not show essential relations but only indicates that since, for example, the lawgiver made this or that ruling on case A, then case B, being similar, holds a similar status in his mind. Al-Mufid's answer denies that this is what the users of analogy mean and insists on the univocity of the commands that have been given in the Quran and the sunna. He says:
The inconsistency of jurists which you have pointed to is no argument against what I have said. I t has been established that the essence of analogy is the bearing of one thing upon that which is in the same legal status, on account of some necessitating reason ('illa majiba) in the former. So when these people wrongly put this name onto something other than the essence, their mistake does not impair the point of my argument. What I have already said renders this objection vain. And that is because the mark and sign, once it has come to indicate a certain legal status, cannot possibly exist without showing it. For the indication cannot go outside its own essence so as to be now an indication and now not. And since you have claimed that the sign is an attribute of the thing judged, upon which a specific ruling was made, then it has the same status as a cause ('illa) in that it is impossible for it to be present together with the nonexistence of the thing shown, just as the presence of a cause is impossible with the nonexistence of its effect. There is no difference between the two. So this man has talked complete nonsense. Then he reflected upon it and said, "These designations, we hold, are from revelation (sam'iyya) and are given fresh to each new case. We do not know them from reason or necessary knowledge, but

!,

LEGAL MATTERS

only from revelation (sam'an) or a proof depending on revelation (doll al-sam'). Nevertheless we hold that the reasons ('ilnl) and proofs (adilla) that come from revelation may at times have a value beyond the immediate objects of their significance and application (madlfllihciwa ma'lfllihci). And so they would be like general traditions which taken absolutely apply to the whole genus and are then [made] specific according to details that accompany them ('inda qar6'inihci). This is a difference between matters of reason and revelation." I [i.e., al-Mufid] said: If these designations are by revelation and are new for each new case, and if they are not intrinsic attributes but rather are continually re-created accidents, then the only way to know them must be revelation, not reason and deduction. For they are like proper names of persons, which are learned not by reasoning but by hearing. And supposing they [i.e., the rulings which you claim to derive by analogy] had come by revelation, then analogy would be useless, for there would then be a specific ruling ( n a g ) as to their application. I t is like someone saying: "Cut off Zaid's head. He stole from the treasury." He deserves decapitation only because he stole from the treasury - nothing else far or near this act. And this specific ruling of decapitation applies to everyone who steals from the treasury since he meets the limiting condition we have explained. So if you hold what we have said about analogy, the difference between us is only in words, not in ideas. And what you are looking for when you use analogy is specific rulings for each case.l The Mu'tazilite replies that he does not agree with al-Mufid's thesis that specific rulings come in the principles. Rather, he says, these must come by the jurist's own deduction from those principles. AlMufid answers that this is the position he has just refuted.2 At this point al-BZqillZni, who is also present at the discussion, takes up the argument and says it is not a matter of strict deduction but of following the more probable opinion (ghalabat al-~ann).One man acts upon what seems to him more probably correct, and another takes a different course because he weighs the probabilities differently. I n this
1

way, every mujtahid is correct. Challenged by al-Mufid to tell why one course should seem more probable than another, al-BZqillZni gives some examples from practical life: a man follows this road rather than that because the thinks this is probably the right one; someone engages in this kind of trade rather then that because he thinks he will probably made a profit in this. l Al-Mufid answers that there is no common ground between such examples of everyday life and the judgments of the Law. The former depend on the agent's previous experience and habits, whereas the Law is revealed by God.2 Elsewhere al-Mufid quotes Abfi 1-QZsim al-Balkhi as saying that those who argue against the use of ijtihdd are themselves resorting to ijtihzd in their very effort. Al-Mufid's answer has three points. First he undertakes dialectically to force his opponent into saying according to the premises of the objection, which makes ijtihdd necessary for deductions in the "branches" of the Law, that the entire Law, roots as well as branches, must be established by ijtihgd. This is more than al-Balkhi presumably would have liked to admit, since human reason would then be replacing revelation as the basis of the Law. Al-Mufid says: Tell us your opinion of someone who would establish the Roots of Law purely on the basis of ijtihdd, arguing that since there is no textual revelation for the Roots he will not appeal to any text for support, and who claims rather that the way to know the Roots is by ijtihdd. Is reasoning the way to break his case, or is instruction (tawpif) the only way to refute it [supplying ill6 in this last clause] ? Should he answer: "The only way to break his case is by instruction," say to him: Therefore reason permits people to set up their own Religious Laws by way of ijtihgd! But this is against your doctrine [too], and in fact we do not know of any jurist or learned person who would say so. And yet the truth of revelation must be known either by reason or by tradition. If it is known by tradition, that tradition must be proved by another, and this leads to an endless series. But [if you say] it is known by reason, then we have gained the point we wanted to force you to admit! I t is even possible
1

Ibid., pp. 51-52. Ibid. See also BRUNSCHVIG, 207, for an account of this argument. p.

Al-F~~til, 53. p. Ibid., pp. 53-54; BRUNSCHVIG, 207-08. pp.

THE THEOLOGY OQ AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

LEGAL MATTERS

for such a person [i.e., the pure rationalist] to demonstrate his own thesis by a proof like the one you have urged and say: "I have found that everyone who argues against ijtihid is himself forced to use ijtihid in the course of his own deduction. For if he uses it from the outset, then his need for it is plain; if he argues from texts and consensus, we verify them by ijtihlid. And so he is forced to use ijtihid in the very basis of his argument." And this is very similar to what have said yourself, 0 Abii l-QZsim, when you argued for ijtihid in the branches of the Law - although it is used on the Roots in their system. Hence we say that there is no room for GtihEd in either of them, without distinction. 1 Then al-Mufid goes on to his second point, defending the polemical use of ijtihid not as a method of establishing the basis or the derived points of the Law, but simply to convict one's adversary of error with his own weapons. Al-Mufid says: However say to him: How plain is your mistake! You claim that when someone uses ijtihid in his legal decisions, there is a rule which prevents his being convicted of error. Those who argue against ijtihid argue only by a kind of reasoning and demonstration whereby they convict of error the people who use it. So how can you charge that the enemies of ijtihlid are verifying it in their own argument against it, and that what they verify is the same process they argue against - except from your own ignorance of the truth ? Finally, in the third step al-Mufid turns on his adversary and accuses him of not using real ijtihahr but only a sort of conjecture. He says: Know - may God pity you !-that what this man and his associates hold in opposition concerning judgment upon revelation (nw) is not really ijtihid. Rather it is guesswork, surmise, and weak conjecture which does not result in certitude and does not generate knowledge. If we recognized them as mujtahidin,: we would not censure them. But we consider them deficient, excessive, extravagant, and erroneous. And if we speak without qualification against the people of ijtihlid, we are only speaking broadIy, because this
1

group has made itself known by this attribute in such a way that it has become, as it were, their badge. l Al-Mufid implies here that there is a real and legitimate ijtihzd which, however, is not analogical reasoning. But he does not say in this passage exactly what it is.

Al-Mufid's rejection of legal analogy leaves him with a problem. What is the Imamite to do if during the Occultation of the Twelfth Imam he finds himself in a situation not covered by any specific ruling in the Quran or traditions? Al-Mufid faces the question in one of his discussions of the Occultation. His opponent brings up the argument that those in need of a judicial decision or who are involved in a dispute are left without recourse in the Imam's absence. Al-Mufid answers: He who is involved in a case concerning which he needs knowledge of the legal ruling should refer that to the scholars among the Shica of the Imam so as to learn from them what they recall from the former Imams of Guidance. And if that is lacking (God forbid!), and there is no revealed judgment that applies exactly to the present case, he knows that it is up to the judgment of intelligence ('aql). For if God had wished to impose a judgment of revelation in this matter, He would have given one. And if He had, the path to it would be easy. M'e say the same for litigants. They refer their difference to the Book and the sunna of the Apostle handed down from the pure, rightly guiding Successors of his family. For knowing that, let them be satisfied with the scholars and jurists of the Shi6a.And if (God forbid!) no specific determination from revelation be found which applies to their difference, they know that this is one of the things left up to reason. For example, a man takes something from another by force. He must restore the thing itself it it still exists. If it no longer exists, he must compensate for it with its like. If he does not have its like, he must satisfy his adversary with what makes up for the injury.
Ibid.

Ibid., pp. 72-73. Ibid., p. 73.

TIIE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAMH AL-MUP~D

LEGAL MATTERS

And if he is unable or unwilling to do that, he is answerable for it until the Day of Reckoning. And if someone commits a crime against another which he cannot redress, he is answerable for it, and the injured party is to endure it patiently until God does him justice on the Day of Reckoning. What we have described should be resorted to and follswed by a morally responsible person only in the state of necessity [created by] the absence of the guiding Imam. If the Imam were present, the only legitimate course would be to consult him and abide by what he says. This is also what all our adversaries say: that it is up to the people in the generation after the Prophet to use ijtihlid in their disputes whenever they lack a specific determination from revelation which applies to them. ljihlid and the use of personal opinion (ra'y) would not be permitted to them in the presence of the Prophet. The first step, then, which an Imamite in legal difficulty must take, is to find out from the experts if there is a ruling in the Quran or the traditions specifically applying to his case. If in the opinion of the experts there is no ruling that covers it, then it is a matter for reason ('aql). Although al-Mufid does not expressly call this use of reason ijlihrid, he clearly sees it as corresponding to the Sunnite practice of ijlihrid. The difference, however, is that al-Mufid rejects analogical reasoning (qiyb), which since al-Shiifi'i had been the basis of Sunnite ijlihid. At any rate, it is not the function of reason to extend by analogy the number of prohibited acts. I n this al-Mufid is in agreement with the Ziihirites, who also refused to look for the reason ('illa) behind a specific prohibition and to apply the prohibition analogously to other objects under the same principle. 2 Al-Mufid agrees with the Mu'tazilites that such acts as injustice and frivolity are in themselves bad and were not made so by the Law. And these intrinsically bad acts can be seen to be so by reason. But, he implies, the revelation of legal prescriptions has superseded the use of reason in distinguishing what is evil. The practical rule to follow
1

is that whatever is bad has been specifically forbidden by the Law, and whatever is not forbidden by the Law is permitted. H e says : Things in the judgment of the intellect are of two classes. One class is known by reason to be prohibited. That is what reason calls evil and prohibits and impugns, such as injustice, stupidity, and frivolity. The other class is that upon which reason hesitates. It does not judge these things either prohibited or permitted, except by revelation. I t is what can be sometimes harmful and sometimes helpful to creatures who do it. This class is treated by legal usages which are open to abrogation and change. After the establishment of the Laws, however, the rule is that everything not specifically prohibited is permitted, because the Laws have set the bounds and distinguished what is forbidden by probiting it. So everything else must have the opposite status.l 'Abd al-Jabbgr, on the other hand, distinguishes a class of acts which are not covered by the Law but which reason sees to be illicit because they harm their agent or some other either in this life or the next.
TwF@,p. 69. See also supra, pp. 62-66, for al-Mufid's view of the basis of al-fiqh," pp. 192-93, where al-Mufid speaks of the moral obligation. See also "U~iil intellect's complete dependence on revelation in this matter now that God has revealed His Law. He says: "Our thesis on prohibition and permission is this: the mind has no free range in ascertaining the permission or prohibition of those things whose prohibition or permission may come by revelation. But reason is never without revelation in [questions of] permission and prohibition. If God had deprived [reading akhl6 for &hi] the reasoners of revelation for one single instant, He would have forced them to fall into what is evil in [the use of ] their intellects: namely deerning proper that which they have no way of knowing whether it is permitted or forbidden. And thus He would drive them into confusion, which is inconsistent with His wisdom." a 'ABDAL-JABBAR, al-Mughni, XVII, 145: "The doctrine of our shaikh on this subject is that every act of a morally responsible person which has a purpose advantageous to himself or another, and which is outside the scope of Laws, and which works no harm to him or another in this world or the next, must come under the category of the licit according to reason. And it is taken out of that category only by a demonstration. "This is the meaning of their dictum, 'Things are permitted', for they do not mean all things, because among them is what is known by reason to be evil." On this whole question of the permitted and the forbidden, see J. SCHACHT, ''IbZib (I)," E.LP, 1 1 660-62. 1,

:
a

Kham rasz'il, Second Letter, pp. 4-5. See GOLDZIHER, Zcihirilen, pp. 42-43. Die

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

LEGAL MATTERS

Al-Mufid has more to say about the task of the experts whom an Imamite must consult. He mentions certain basic rules for interpreting traditions.

ISOLATED TRADITIONS (khabar al-wiihid) .


Traditions based upon the authority of a single transmitter or of only a few were held suspect among the early Sunnite schools of Law. Al-ShSrfi'i was the jurist who argued at length to establish the credit of traditions with one trustworthy transmitter which purported to go back to the Prophet. "His only concession," says Schacht, "is that the khabar al-wdhid is weaker than a unanimously recognized sunna and does not produce absolute knowledge, although it must serve as a basis for action." Al-Mufid expresses lower esteem for isolated traditions. He says:

I say that no knowledge or action is imposed by any traditions of one. And no one is permitted to make any determination in religion on the strength of a tradition from one, unless something be associated with it which plainly demonstrates the trustworthiness of its relator. This is the doctrine of most of the Shi'a and of many Mu'tazilites, the Kharijites, and a group of the Murji'ites. I t is against what the jurists of the Sunnites (al-'dmma) and the partisans of personal opinion hold.
The exception he makes in favor of a tradition accompanied by a proof "that plainly demonstrates the trustworthiness of its relator" does not mean that al-Mufid will accept any isolated tradition said to be on the authority of an Imam. I t will be seen that al-Mufid rejects many of Ibn BBbiiya's Imamite traditions on the grounds that they are isolated. Rather the weakness of an isolated tradition is that it does not sufficiently establish that an Imam really said what a single relator
-

reports of him. What al-Mufid calls for is the support of either reason or constant and unanimous acceptance. "The proof (dalil)," he says, "may be a valid rational argument (huja min 'aql), evidence from customary usage (shihid min 'urf), or consensus without dissent (ijmd' bi-ghair khulf) .." 'Abd al-Jabblr says that a tradition from less than five transmitters who all have necessary knowledge does not convey knowledge. 2 Still less would a tradition from only one convey dependable knowledge. Granting that true knowledge is not imparted by an isolated tradition, can it be said that God is served by one who acts according to this kind of tradition? 'Abd al-JabbZr says that this is possible, and he cites .~ the practice of the Companions in support of his a n ~ w e r Here 'Abd al-JabbIr shows himself more favorable than al-Mufid to isolated traditions. Is it licit, then, to follow in practice a tradition which does not give sure knowledge? Al-Mufid says it is not licit. 'Abd aI-Jabbgr says it is licit. A common Sunnite view is that it is obligatory.* WIDESPREAD (mutawitir) TRADITIONS. Speaking of those traditions which are certainly reliable because of the number of their transmitters, al-Mufid says: Definition of widespread publicity in traditions. I say that widespread publicity certifying truth in traditions means transmission by such a number as normally could not agree to fabricate a tradition without the fact of its fabrication becoming known. This is a matter relating to the conditions of a people and the differences of their motives and behavior. Knowledge of that must rest finally on actual experience and cannot be formulated exactly in words and speech.

1 J. SCHACHT, Origins o Muhammadan Jurisprudence (3rd ed.; Oxford: ClaThe f rendon, 1959), p. 52, referring to AL-SHAFI'~, al-Riscila (Cairo: Biilfiq, 132 1 H.), p. 82. a Awci'il, p. 100.

"Ugfil al-fiqh," p. 193. Al-Mughni, XV, 356, 361. Ibid., XVII, 382. He goes further in the Sharh al-wiil al-khamsa, p. 769: "In fact if one were to say most legal acts of worship are founded upon [mere] opinion, that is possible." For AL-S~iiPx'i, supra, p. 298, n. 1; AL-BAGHD~~D~, p. 12. see UC al-din, jl

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKII AL-MUF~D

LEOAL MATTERS

This is the doctrine of the partisans of the multi-attested among the Baghdadis. Opposed to it are the Basrans. They define it as what obliges knowledge necessarily. l I n agreement with the Baghdad Mu'tazilites, al-Mufid is saying that the certitude which the hearer has of a widespread tradition is acquired by a simple inference from the premise that a variety of relators would not or could not successfully pass off a fraud. The certitude of this premise, he says, is based on experience. He declines to say exactly how many transmitters are required for a tradition to qualify as multiattested. 'Abd al-Jabbgr says that reports about foreign countries and kings, and traditions telling us that the Prophet used to practice the five prayers, give the poor-due, and made the pilgrimage are widespread and therefore known necessarily. To qualify as widespread, a tradition must be reported by at least five men who themselves have necessary knowledge of it. 2 And the degree, of certitude is not increased in proportion to the number of qualified transmitters above five.8 'Abd al-JabbHr's arguments for the rlecessity of the knowledge which such a tradition produces in the hearer are, first, that the mind does not in fact consider the qualifications of the various transmitters, nor has it any innate impulse to do so. Second, intelligent people might disagree about proofs and conclusions acquired from them, but there is a general agreement about this sort of tradition. And third, if the knowledge were of the sort that is acquired, many would fail to attain it or, once having attained it, would forget it. The hearer of a widespread tradition has no choice but to receive its contents as knowledge. Thus his knowledge of such things as the Prophet's five daily prayers differs from his knowledge of God's Unity and Justice, for the latter is acquired by reasoning.
Awci'il, pp. 65-66. He says the same in "U~fi1al-fiqh," p. 193. Sharb, p. 768; al-Mughni, XV, 361. Zbid., p. 372. Ibid., p. 349.

Al)U I-ljus;iin al-nap?, however, without mentioning that he disagrees with his master, 'Abd al-Jabbir, follows the Baghdadi view that knowledge from widespread traditions is not necessary, but acquired. 1

ABROGATION (al-nisikh wal-mansiikh).


Al-Mufid says he opposes the Mu'tazilites on a thesis concerning abrogation. He says :

I say that in the Quran are the abrogating and the abrogated, just as there are definite and ambiguous verses, according to what God knew to be for the welfare of men. He said: "Such of Our revelations as We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring in its place one better or like it [Quran, 2:106]." I hold that abrogation in the Quran is abrogation of the judgments involved, not the removal of the passage itself as many of our adversaries teach. Among the abrogated verses in the Quran is His saying, "Those of you who are about to die and leave behind wives should bequeath to their wives provision for a year without turning them out [Quran, 2:240]." According to this verse the waiting period aftqdeath was a year. Then this saying of His abrogated it: "Such of you as die and leave behind them wives, they [i.e., the wives] shall keep themselves apart four months and ten days [Quran, 2:234]." The latter judgment is established in the Law of Islam, while the first judgment is abrogated. But its verse is permanent, not abrogated, and it stands in the reading like the one which abrogates it, without difference.
ABG L'-HUSAIN MUHAMMAD'AL~ AL-TAYYIB B. B. AL-BA$R~, KitCfb al-mu'tamad (Damascus: Institut fransais de Damas, 1964), 1 , 552: "People differed about the knowledge that comes by the multi-attested. Our 1 shaikhs Abii 'Ali and Abii HIshim say that it is necessary, not acquired. Abfi l-Qasim al-Balkhi says it is acquired. . . We say that demonstration is the arrangement of things known whereby one arrives at new knowledge. So everything whose existence is based upon an arrangement of things known is demonstrated. But this is so with knowledge coming from the multi-attested, for we know what we are told only when we know that the relator did not report his own opinion but was reporting that on which there is no confusion, and that he has no motive to lie. So we know that he has not based himself on falsehood by our knowledge that he has no motive to lie." For a further discussion of this question, see VANESS,Erkenntnislehre, pp. 416-17.

fi wzil al-Jqh, ed. M. Hamidulla et al.

a
S

LEGAL MATTERS

This is the doctrine of thc Shi'a, ;L number of the traditionists, and most of the Kharijites and the Zaidis. Opposed to it arc the Mu'tazilites and a number of the determinists, who claim that abrogation may take place in the verses themselves just as it happens in the judgments. And a few eccentrics related to Mu'tazilism have opposed this, denying any abrogation whatsoever in the Quran. And it is even related of a group of them that they denied abrogation in the Law of Islam altogether, denying that God abrogates any of it in any respect or for any reas0n.l 'Abd al-Jabbgr's treatment of abrogation is concerned mostly with defending its legitimacy against the polemic of the Jewsa and distinguishing it from the older Shi'ite notion of God's change of mind (bada"), and so he is not concerned with the question of verses dropped from the Quran. His disciple, Abii I-Husain al-Basri, however, expresses the view which al-MufId has opposed. He says: On the possibility of abrogating the reading but not judgment, and the judgment but not the reading. The proof for its possibility is that the reading and the judgment are two acts of worship ('ibidatain). And examples of both can become harmful and then must be forbidden. And it is possible for each of them by itself to become harmful, but not the other. In that case one must be forbidden, but not the other.4
As an instance of a reading which has been abrogated while the judgment it expresses is retained he gives the verse of stoning: "If an adult man and an adult woman commit fornication, stone them in every case as God's punishment," which the caliph 'Umar accepted as genuine. The example which Abii 1-Husain gives of both a reading and its iudgment being abrogated is from a tradition on the authority of 'A'isha saying it had been revealed to the Prophet that suckling ten times constituted foster-relationship. This, the tradition goes on to say, was
1
2 8 4

later changed to five.l Neither 'Umar nor 'A'isha, needless to say, carried any weight among the Imamites. Another question is whether a sunna can abrogate something in the Quran. Al-Mufid says:

I say that part of the Quran is abrogated by another part, but none of it is abrogated by the sunna. Rather the sunna is abrogated by it, just as a sunna is abrogated by another sunna like itself. "Such of Our verses as We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring in its place one better or like it [Quran, 2 :106]." And nothing other than the Book of God can be like it, nor is there in the speech of any of His creatures anything better than it. And there is no sense in the adversaries' making "We bring in its place one better than it," refer to the common good, because a thing is not better than its fellow by being more to the weIfare of another person. That is not authorized in the Law, nor is it verified in common language. If it were so, then punishment would be better than reward, and Iblis better than the angeIs and prophets. This is absurd and impossible. The thesis that the sunna does not abrogate the Quran is the doctrine of most of the Shi'a and a number of the jurists and traditionists. Opposed to it are many jurists and theologians.2
Abfi 1-uusain notes that although al-ShZfiCidenied that a sunna could abrogate anything in the Quran, the followers of Abii Hanifa said it was reasonable, and some of them said it had actually happened. 8 I n the course of his argument for the rational possibility of this thesis, Abii 1-Husain mentions Abii HZshim al-JubbZ'i as being for it.4 I n the second step of his argument, showing that a judgment of the Quran has in fact been abrogated by a sunna, Abii 1-p-lwsain cites the verse of ~ t o n i n g This is the same verse he had used as an abrogated part of the .~ Geschichte Zbid. On the doubtful genuineness of this later tradition, see NOLDEKE, Qurans, I, 253-54, who says it was probably created to support a school opinion. Awi'il, p. 102. The same is said in ''U~tilal-fiqh," p. 193. a Al-Mu'tamad, I, 424. Zbid., p. 428. Zbid., p. 429.

des

Awci'il, p. 101. Sharb, pp. 576-83; al-Mughni, XVI, 97-142. Sharb, pp. 583-85; al-Mughni, XVI, 65-70. Al-Mu'tamad, I, 418.

LEOAL MATTERS

Quran itself. Now he assumes that this verse had ceased to be a part of the Quran and become a sunna. The question, then, of whether anything in the Quran can be abrogated by a sunna, was in dispute among the Sunnites. Al-Mufid's position, which he says is that of the majority of the Shi'a, means in effect that not even a well-attested tradition from an Imam could abrogate anything in the Quran. Elsewhere al-Mufid says that the dicta of the Imams do not abrogate one an0ther.l

what the shaikh [Abii] 'AII b. al-Junaid has said in his books on questions of jurisprudence, which are without chains of authority? Is it legitimate to praise his opinion and follow what he thinks to be the truth and correct in his eyes, or should one lean upon the traditions which are accompanied by chains of authority rather than those which lack them ? The second author mentioned is Abii 'Ali Muhammad b. Ahmad b. al-Junaid al-Iskifi (d. 381/991-92). He is known as a jurist rather than a traditionist, and even there, as al-Tiisi notes, "he approved of analogical reasoning; hence his books are abandoned and he is not relied upon." a In the first part ofhis answer, al-Mufid makes it clear that the ordinary reader should not try to decide for himself the reliability of contradictory traditions. Instead he should take his problem to someone learned in these matters. He says: I t is not licit for any man to decide for himself what is the true meaning when a difference occurs about the meaning of the Book or the sunna or the conclusion of a rational demonstration. Let him not act upon that until he has acquired knowledge of such matters and the skill in reasoning which will lead him to understand. And when he lacks the knowledge required for this, let him go to one who has it, without making a pronouncement according to his own opinion and conjecture. For if he relies upon that and happens to be right he is not rewarded; and if he is wrong, he is [not] pardoned. s Then al-Mufid gives his own estimate of Ibn BHbiiya's trustworthiness as a traditionist. He says: One should not act upon everything that Abii Ja'far has related if the sayings of the Imams are not established by reliable methods. For they are traditions of one which do not command knowledge or action [reading 'amalan for 'amadan]. And their narration is on
"Al-Sarawiyya," pp. 55-56. AL-TOST,al-Fihrist, p. 160. "Al-Sarawiyya," p. 56. Supplying md to the next-to-last sentence makes i t contribute to al-Mufid's point: that it is dangerous for a layman to set his own course in legal matters.
a
/

Al-Mufid does, however, mention that there are ambiguous passages in the Quran.l Here is a possible opening for traditions being brought in to determine what was left unclear in the Book. 'Abd al-Jabbiir argues that there are no objectively ambiguous passages in the Quran, for it is the part of a wise speaker to give a definite meaning to everything he says. And this is eminently true of the speech of God.

I t has been seen that al-Mufid rejects both consensus of the Community and the use of analogical reasoning as methods of jurisprudence. He also denies the force of isolated traditions, unless the relator's veracity is known on other grounds. So much for the theory. How in practice did al-Mufid behave as a jurist? I n the eighth question of his "alMasi'il al-sarawiyya," he is asked : What does he say of the person blocked off from the [personal] pursuit ofknowledge who happens upon books offqh on the author- . ity of the Imams of Guidance which contain obvious contradictions on questions of jurisprudence, as happens in the contradictions between what Abii Ja'far b. Bibiiya has asserted in his books of traditions with chains of authority going back to the Imams, and
1

"U$iil al-fiqh," p 194. . Awd'il, p. 101; cited supra, p. 301. Al-Mughni, XVI, 347-55; 370-83.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

the authority of men who could have been negligent and mistaken. Abii Ja'far simply related what he heard and transmitted what he remembered without guaranteeing it. Traditionists transmit both the lean and the fat, without restricting themselves to what is known. They are not people of reason and investigation, nor are they in the habit of thinking out and discussing what they relate [reading laisii for laisa]. So their traditions are mixed: truth and falsehood are to be distinguished in them only by looking a t the roots and relying upon reason, which is the way to truth in what is rep0rted.l Al-Mufid's criticism, then, of Ibn BZbfiya and of traditionists in general is twofold. First, instead of checking the sources of their traditions, they relate what comes from isolated or otherwise untrustworthy reporters. And second, instead of using their intellectual powers on the content of the traditions in order to distinguish the reasonable from what is against reason, they have passively related whatever came their way. The fault he finds with Ibn al-Junaid is different. He says: Of the books of Abfi 'Ali b. al-Junaid, say this: he has filled them with judgments which he made by guesswork, and he has employed the doctrine of [our] opponents and despicable analogy. SO he mixed what was transmitted from the Imams with what he himself said [reading qhlqhu for qalahu], without separating the one from the other. But even if he had separated the transmitted from the opinions, there still would not be a valid argument in it, for in the realm of tradition he did not base himself upon multi-attested reports but relied only upon isolated traditions. Besides using weak traditions, then, Ibn al-Junaid goes to the opposite extreme from Ibn BiibEya, boldly mixing his reports with conjectural judgments and analogical reasoning, of which al-Mufid disapproves.
1
Z

Aftcr llis criticism of the two jurists, al-Muficl must still say somes cr tl thing nl,out thc collrsr Iiis q ~ ~ c s t i o t ~h o ~ ~ lfollow. What sllc)uld ht: do whcli t l ~ cI)ool<stlisagrvc? Al-Mr~ficlatlswcrs: Tllc Slii'a Iii1vc tr;lclitiolis on Irgnl mattcrs, on some of wl~ichthe Party of Truth is agrcctl, nncl on otllers they differ. I t is llie task of tllc cliscrirninatilig, intclligc~ltperson to acccpt what is agrccd upon, as the Imam al-Sgdiq has comnianded, and to hesitate about that wherein they diner, so long as he docs not know of any decisive argument for either side. H e should refer it to someone more learned himself, but he should not be satisfied wit11 a n analogy from him unsupported by eviclence and proof. He will thereby keep safe from mistake and error in religion, if God wills.' I n accepting the traditions that Imamites agree on, the inquirer will be following a kind of Shicite "consensus" which, inasmuch as it is concerned only with the reliability of traditions, is more restricted than Sunnite consensus. The do;fbtful traditions should be referred to a n expert, who should not be permitted to employ in his solution analogical reasoning based on other traditions, but only rational proofs. Al-Mufid goes on to say that he himself is such an expert. He continues :

'

wa in for wa a m m q in the mass of what traditionists other than he have transmitted there is [much that] is known [to be true], although it is [not] distinguished [there] from the rest. This is because, shunning the way of reasoning, they relied exclusively upon transmission of what they heard from men, upon passive imitation without reasoning and considering."

Ibid. Ibid., pp. 56-57. The passage continues: "Yet [reading

I have given answers about many disputed traditions in questions that came to me from Nisgbiir, Mosul, Fars, and the district known as Miizandariin. All this comprises various Mash'il quoting traditions from the Truthful Ones. And people have apparently contradictory traditions in several kinds of legal matter. I have set down in Kitd aal-tamhid answers to different questions involving traditions from the Truthful Ones. And I have given my legal opinion supported by unshakable proofs concerning which of them [i.e., the contradictory traditions] must be acted upon. I have also collected the meanings of many sayings of the Imams which people have supposed to be contradictory, while in fact they certainly agree in meaning. I have refuted the objections of those who called them weak because of their apparent contradiction. I have mentioned such things in Kit56 rna~cibih al-niil- fi 'alfinz~t
Ibid., p. 57.

TIIB 'I'HEOLOOY OF AL-SIIAIKII AL-MUP~D

LEGAL MATTERS

awl'il al-shuhu'r. And I have traced out routes by which one can come to understand the truth in the dilrerences that have occurred among our colleagues about traditions. I n consequence of his careful work in sifting and separating spurious traditions and harmonizing the contents of the sound ones, al-Mufid is able, he says, to criticize Ibn al-Junaid's too free handling of traditions. He continues :

I have answered the questions which Ibn al-Junaid had collected in his books addressed to the people of Egypt, called al-Mard'il al-mipiyya. In them he devoted chapters to traditions which he thought were contradictory in meaning. And he ascribed this to the Imams' speaking on the basis of personal opinion (ra'y). I have refuted what he conjectured and imagined. And I harmonized their meanings so that there was no contradition in them. Therefore whoever gets possession of these answers, reads them impartially, and thinks carefully about them will easily understand the truth about all that was thought to be contradictory, and he will obtain certainty about all that pertains to traditions related from our Imams. a
Al-Mard'il al-mipiyya is not recorded by al-NajBshT under Ibn alJunaid's name. But al-NajBshi does list among al-Mufid's works: [Naqd] Ri~dat al-Junaida' ilE ah1 M@r, and al-Naqd 'ald ibn al-Jz~naid fi-jtihid al-ra'y. Al-Mufid concludes by summarily indicating the problems presented in traditions from the Imams, which are complicated not only by the difficulty of telling whether expressions are general or particular, obligatory or merely recommended, ordinary or technical in meaning, but also the problem of the Imams' deliberate concealment of the inner meaning in order to avoid persecution. He says: In summary, the sayings of the Imams were generally expressed with their apparent sense agreeing with their inner meaning, except in some of their consequences.
1

,4nd some of the sayings had an outer sense different from the inner because of dissimulation (taqiyya) in the face of compulsion. The apparent sense of some of them is obligation and command, while they really are invitations, quotations, and recommendations. And in some the apparent sense is quotation and recommendation. And the apparent sense of some is quotation and invitation, but they are really obligatory. And some of them are general, but the meaning is particular; some are particular, meant to be general. And the outer sense is sometimes transferred from the ordinary literal meaning which it has in speech and connotes in everyday usage, for the sake of common welfare, evasion, and the sparing of life. This is not surprising, nor is it innovation on their part. For even in the Quran, which is God's speech and in which there are wholesome and plain lessons [reading sh@' for shaqa"], the apparent sense [of some passages] has differed [from the inner]. And people have disagreed widely in attaching themselves to its [various possible] meanings. The same is true of the well-established sunna from the Prophet. Scholars differ on the meaning of his words. l In none of this program for the traditionist's critical activity does al-Mufid postulate any hidden knowledge on the expert's part. Rather the expert's ijiha'd (although al-Mufid does not use this term) consists in carefully sifting the well-attested traditions from those that are given on weak authority, and applying to the former rules of interpretation by which, hopefully, he can distinguish the universal from the particular, the command from mere recommendation, and the hidden meaning from the disguise to which the Imam's enforced caution made him resort. Al-Mufid summarizes his method in six rules. His criteria are: the practice of the Shi'a, an abundance of authoritative reporters, usage through several generations, agreement of most of the Imams' learned companions, and non-contradiction of the Quran and reason. He says:
"Al-Sarawiyya," p. 58. Al-Mufid does not say that there is an inner (bain), esoteric interpretation of the Quran. See ''U$fi1 al-fiqh," p. 187, where he says that r the ~ 6 h i is what any reader who knows Arabic could understand. For the b@in the reader needs additional information but not of an esoteric kind. The examples al-Mufid and zaklit. gives are the technical meanings of ~alit

a
8

Ibid., pp. 57-58. Ibid., p. 58. AL-NAJASI-I?, Kit66

al-rydl, p. 312. See supra, p. 33, 5 72; p.

40,

162.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

LEGAL MATTERS

So when we find one of two traditions, but not the other, agreeing with practice, we know that the one agreeing with practice is the true one, both in its inner and outer sense, and that the other is not acted upon either because it was spoken by way of dissimulation or because falsehood has entered into it. When we find a tradition related by ten companions of the Imams contradicted in word and meaning by another related by two or three, and they cannot be reconciled, we decide in favor of what the ten have related, against that reported by two or three. And we put the latter down to dissimulation or to the reporter's imagination. When we find a tradition repeatedly acted upon by the Imams' closest companions in age after age and in the generation of one Imam after another, we decide in its favor against what others have reported contrary to it, whose relation has not been repeated and which has not been followed in practice, as we have said. When we find a tradition related by the shaikhs of our Party whose contrary they have not related, we know it is well established. And if others relate it who are not of their number and are not, as they are, close friends of the Imams, that is a sign of its being true. And a criterion of the difference between the fals; and the true in its meaning is that the Imam cannot possibly give a legal response according to taqiyya in a case without the specialists in religious knowledge among his companions hearing it and knowing in what circumstances it was given. Even if it should escape one of them, it would not escape all of them together, especially since they are well known for [competence in] giving legal opinions on the permitted and the forbidden and for relating [traditions concerning] duties, normative customs, and judgments. When we find a tradition contradicted by the Book, and they cannot be harmonized, we discard the former and judge according to the Book. The consensus of the Imams is for. this. And also if we find a tradition contrary to the judgments of reason, we discard it because reason judges it to be corrupt. And the verdict on it is either that it is true [but] given out by way of taqiyya, or that it is falsely attributed to them. 1
1

Thus the actual usage of the Shi'ite community is a significant consideration in the expert's decision whether a tradition is genuine or not.

The doctrine of taqiyya restrained the Imamite believer from political revolt in the present age. He was counselled to live at peace under an unjust government until the Mahdi should appear. Despite differences in interpretation, the Mu'tazilite jurisprudence fits into the frame of the four established Sunnite roots: the Book, the sunna, consensus, and analogous reasoning. Al-Mufid rejects the latter two roots, substituting for consensus the authority of the Imams, which is known by traditions. And problems on which no specific decision has been given in the Quran or traditions are to be solved somehow by reason ('aql) - not, however, by reasoning analogically from other prescriptions. Isolated traditions, according to al-Mufid, are not safe rules for action. In exceptional cases, however, one can be certain of the truth of an isolated tradition if it is accompanied by a rational proof or if the usage or unanimous consensus of the Shi'a is in its favor. Al-Mufid gives no minimum number of transmitters required for a tradition to qualify as multi-attested. An important function of the Imamite scholar is to interpret the hidden meaning of traditions from the Imams, who at times practiced dissimulation. Al-Mufid criticizes Ibn al-Junaid for using analogy and personal opinion in his decisions, besides basing many of them upon isolated traditions. He criticizes Ibn Bgbaya both for relying on traditions of weak authority and for faiIing to exercise intelligent judgment in interpreting them.

Ta,rhih, pp. 7 1-72.

PART I1

IBN BABUYA

CHAPTER XI1

THE USE OF REASON


Abii Ja'far Muhammad b. 'Ali b, al-Vusain b. Mfisl b. BBbiiya al-Qummi (d. 38 11991-92) ,l the Imamite traditionist, was a teacher of al-Mufid. The purpose of this section is to compare what can be known of his theology with that of his pupil. Al-Mufid's estimate of Ibn Blbfiya's critical sense as a traditionist has already been seen. I t is not necessary here to give a summary exposition of Ibn BZbiiya's thought on all points, since he himself has written creeds in his "Risllat al-i'tiqldlt," 2 at the beginning of "al-Hidiiya," 3 and in his Amcili. In the latter two creeds the doctrines to be believed are put at the head of longer accounts of duties to be performed. This reflects Ibn Blbfiya's profession as a legist rather than a theologian. Since Ibn Blbiiya's own summaries of doctrine preclude the necessity of a full description here, the method of this section will be to select and highlight points where he differs from his pupil, al-Mufid. The larger problem of the origin of the traditions available to Ibn Blbfiya and his motives in selecting the ones he used will not be taken up.
1 For biographical facts see A. FYZEE, "Ibn Babawaih(i)," EIz, 111, 726-27. For the spelling of his name, see A. FYZEE, AShi'iteCreed ("Islamic Research Association Series," No. 9; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1942), p. 8, n. 2. 2 The Arabic text of the "Kisilat al-iGtiqidH is contained in a collection named t" after its first treatise: al-Bib al-hcidi 'ashar (Tehran: Markaz-i nashr-i kitib, 1370 H.), pp. 66-1 15, which is a reprint of an edition of 1292. FYZEE'S ShiriteCreed is a transA from the Arabic editions of Najaf and Delhi, conlation of the "Risglat al-i'tiq8ditY' sulting a Tehran edition of 1270 H. Citations in this section will be to this writer's translations of the Arabic text on hand. The page number of Fyzee's translation will also be given, after the sign F. 8 "Al-HidHya," pp. 1-12. 4 IBN B A B ~ A , Amili-yi Shaikh-i Sadcq b tarjime-yi fdrs; (Tehran: Islamiy ya d 1380 H.), pp. 639-54.

'

Ibn Blbiiya relates traditions from the Imam Jacfar which forbid disputation (jadal) about God l and threaten the theologians (a~hcib al-kaklm) with ruin. In accordance with the traditions he has reported, Ibn Blbfiya allows controversy only in the form of quotingand explaining the words of God, the Prophet, and the Imams. Even this form of argument is allowed only to the learned. He says: "Now as for arguing with opponents by the words of God, the sayings of the Prophet and the Imams, or by the ideas intended in their sayings, it is allowed without restriction to him who is well versed in theology (kalcim), but not permitted - forbidden rather - to him who is not well versed in. it."3 Even here the scope allowed to the experts is limited to quoting and explaining traditions. This is Ibn BBbfiya's notion of the role of the expert in kalcim. Al-Mufid answers that there are two kinds of disputation: the true and the vain. The former is desirable, and indeed was actually commanded by the Quran and the example of the Imams, who not only disputed in person with adversaries in religion, but who also had companions about them who "in every age used reason (naqar) and disputed for the truth and repelled falsehood with arguments and proofs, for which the Imams praised, lauded, and commended them." Al-Mufid quotes traditions from al-Kulaini testifying to this. The
1

Al-Tawbid, pp. 454-61; "al-Hi&ya," p. 3; "Risgla," pp. 73-74, F. 43-44. Ibid., p. 74, F. 43. Zbid., p. 74, F. 43. Tdih, pp. 26-27.

---.. ..

. . a m

1..111111111ll

I1-

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH

AL-MUF~D

prohibitions of kalim on the subject of God are interpreted by al-Mufid to mean that "it was only forbidden to talk of His likeness to creatures and of His using constraint in His wise governance."l Then al-Mufid attacks those who impugn the use of reason and says they display their own lack of intelligence. He also points out that the use of reason (naqar) is not the same as disputation (muniqara) which latter may at times be suppressed because of the need for dissimulation and for other reasons. But the suppression of reasoning would only lead to blind acceptance of authority (taglid), which all agree in condemning. a Ibn BTibiiya declares flatly that dissimulation is a duty for all Imamites until the Twelfth Imam reappears.8 I t is to be practiced in all matters short of causing b l o o d ~ h e d .Al-Mufid disagrees, main~ taining that dissimulation is not positively a duty unless it is foreseen that certain or probable harm will follow upon disclosure of one's true belief.6 The disagreement on dissimulation is another reflection of the differing views held by Ibn BTibiiya and al-Mufid about public disputation in matters of religion. Al-Mufid interprets the traditions against controversy by distinguishing the learned from the unlearned. He says :

The Tri~thful Ones Ilavc cornm;tndcd a num1)cr of their party to rc:str;~int11crnsc:lvcs and kccp from clisplaying the truth, to kccp it sccrct and vcsilcd from the cncmics of religion, and to rnanifcst to thern whatever will allay s~lspicionof thcir opposition. This was ill their best interests. And they commanded another group of thcir party to speak to their adversaries and face them openly with a call to the truth because they knew there was no harm in that for them. 1 Al-Mufid criticizes his teacher's doctrine on dissimulation for being absolute and making no distinction between the masses, who were enjoined to hide their belief, and the experts, who were commanded to argue in its defense. In failing to make this distinction, Ibn BHbiiya has condemned his own conduct. For, al-Mufid says: He has expressed his own belief about the truth in his well-known conferences whose sessions were public, and by his writings which were published widely. He did not notice the contradiction between his words and his actions. Had he put the doctrine of dissimulation in its proper place [i.e., had he explained it correctly] and restrained his loose talk about it, he would have been saved from contradiction and the truth of the matter would have been plain to those seeking guidance, its door unbarred to them, and its meaning revealed to them. But he followed the method of the traditionists, going by surface meanings and shying away from the paths of reflection. This point of view harms the religion of the one who holds it, and resting in it blocks rational inquiry. 2 Al-MuGd is saying that Ibn BTibtiya was something of a controversialist in spite of himself. Actually however, the basic difference is not that Ibn BHbaya failed to distinguish the learned from the masses -for he did -but that even the expert's task, in his scheme, was limited to explaining traditions. Ibn BHbfiya was not inclined to go far beyond those traditions or to interpret and distinguish them so as to bring them into agreement with independent speculation. Al-Mufid, although he said reason needs the help of revelation in its premises and its concl~sions,~
1

1 Ibid., p. 27. Al-Mufid refers the reader to three of this own books now lost: aldrkinfi ducd'im al-din, al-KBmilfi'ulEm al-din, and 'UqEd al-din, where he has collected hs and discussed traditions seeming to be against rational theology. Ti shows that al-Mufid was at pains to justify the role of kalim to the Imarnite traditionists of his

day.

Tqb@,p. 28. "RisHla," pp. 104-05, F. 110-12. - 4 "Al-HiGya," p. 9. On the other hand, Ibn Babiiya holds that commanding the good and forbidding the bad are incumbent upon the individual. But in unfavor"in able circumstances they may be done inte~~iorly, the heart." On p. 11 (ibid.), he says: "Commanding the good and forbidding the bad are two duties imposed by God according to one's ability. And it is up to a man to forbid evl with his heart. Al-$&diq has said: 'One commands the good and forbids evil only to a believer, to have him take the warning, and tman ignorant man to have him learn. As for [commanding it] to the possessor of the sword and the whip, no." For al-Mufid's doctrine that this is a community duty, see supra, pp. 279-80. ti T&ih, p. 66; cf. supra, pp. 280-82.
2

Tdih, p. 66. Ibid., p. 67. Awi'il, pp. 1 1-12.

TIIB TIIEOLOOY OP AL-3IIAIKH AI.-MUP~I)

THE USE OF REASON

composed some treatises which were not mere col1c:ctions of tritclitions, and he published collections of responses to qucslions not all of which had to do with traditions and their explanations. And he habitually distinguished between what is known by reason and what is known by revelation. Ibn BFtbiiya's own idea of the relation between reason and revelation is expressed in the beginning of his book on the Hidden Imam, Kitib kamil al-din. Whoever claims, he says, that the world could cven for one hour be without an Imam is logically in agreement with the Brahmins in their rejection of all apostleship (risdla). And if the Quran had not in fact said that Muhammad is the seal of the prophets, there would have to be an apostle in every age. Prevented by the Quran from calling the Imams apostles or prophets, Ibn Bgbiiya nevertheless argues for a rational necessity that they have successors. He says: And since this is true [i.e., the quranic text calling Muhammad the seal of the prophets], the idea of there being an apostle after him is eliminated, but there remains in the mind the form which calls for a successor (baqiyat al-@&a al-mz1stadCiyalil-khalga 31-'aql) . That is, God never calls for acceptance of a doctrine until He has formed its truth in [men's] minds. When He has not done so, it is out of order to call for adherence to tGs doctrine, for the argument is not properly established. That is because the ideas of things fit together and are incompatible with their opposites. So if there existed in the mind a denial of the apostles, God would not have sent a prophet at ell. I t is like the physician healing a sick man by what agrees with his natural dispositions. Were he to treat him with a medicine contrary to his natural dispositions, that would lead to this ruin. So it is established that God, the wisest of rulers, does not call for a cause unless its form is fixed in the rnindal There is a trace here of a theory of innate ideas and knowledge by reminiscence. Behind it too is the supposition that everything, even
Kitlib kamcil al-din (Tehran: lithograph, 1301 H.), p. 4.

thought, happens by God's arrangement. If the intellect sees something to be reasonable, that is because God has disposed the human mind to admit the thing, instead of making the thing fit to be received by the human mind. The mind is thus predisposed by God to assent to the doctrine of successors to the Prophet which it will hear proclaimed in Shi'ite preaching. What al-Mufid calls his own rational argument for the existence of an Imam proceeds from the principle that God cannot oblige men to do what is beyond their power, and the fact that He has obliged them to observe the Law. To this al-Mufid adds the further premise that a present Imam is necessary for determining what exactly the Law ob1iges.l But al-Mufid has little to say in general about the relationship of reason to revelation. A certain ambiguity is present in Ibn BFtbiiya's remarks upon a tradition which says that "we know God by God." First he seems to explain away any need for revelation. He says: The correct thesis on this subject is to say: we know God by God because if we know Him by our reason, He has given us our reason. And if we know Him by His prophets, apostles, and Proofs [i.e., the Imams], He has sent them and chosen them as Proofs. And if we know Him by our own souls, He has produced them. So we know Him by Himself.2 Here Ibn BBbfya is allowing for reason's ability to gain some knowledge of God. And in fact he will be seen below arguing to God's existelice from the temporality of the world. However one should not press his phrase, "if we know Him by our reason," for more meaning than it was intended to bear. Ibn BBbiiya does not say positively that this is a real hypothesis. His point is that even in such a case the credit would still be God's. Immediately after this he interprets another tradition to mean that we need someone sent from God to know God truly. He says:
1

Al-lfd!~,p. 4, quoted supra, p. 12 1. Al-Taw!lid, p. 290.

THE USE OF REASON


THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

Al-S5diq said: "Were it not for God, we would not be known, and were it not for us, God would not be known." The meaning is: were it not for the Proofs, God would not be known with true understanding; and were it not for God, the Proofs would not be known. I have heard a theologian say: "If a man were born in the desert and saw no one to lead and guide him until he grew up, matured, and looked at the sky and earth, that would prove to him that they have a maker and producer." I said to him: this thing does not exist. I t is a tale of what has never been, purporting to tell how it would be if it were. And were that to happen, the man would simply have been God's Proof to himself, just as one of the prophets was sent to himself, another was sent to his people and his father [reading wiilidih for walidih], another sent to the people of his abode, another sent to the people of his country, and one sent to all the people. l This is to say that man needs someone divinely appointed or sent to lead him to knowledge of God. Not just anyone can be God's Proof. He needs to be inspired by God. Ibn Bgbfiya continues: As for IbrLhim al-Khalil's proof by looking at Venus, then at the moon, and then at the sun, and saying when they set, "0 people! I am free of what you worship [Quran 6:78]," he was a prophet, inspired and sent, and all that he said was by Gcd's inspiration. And that is God's saying: "And this proof of Ours We gave to Ibrsllim for his people [Quran, 6 :83] ." Not everyone is like IbrZhim. If because of rational knowledge there were no need for God's teaching and making Himself known, God would not have sent down the words, "Know that there is no God but God [Quran, 47 :191." a Ibn BBbfiya means that reason does not arrive at full knowledge of God without the help of revelation. This is not to say that the conclusions of reason are invalid. He is talking about the de.facto situation of how people come to know God. He is not speculating' about the power of unaided reason, either to affirm or deny it. O n the whole, Ibn BLbfiya does not distinguish between the work of reason and revelation, nor
1
2

does he rely on his own speculation when he has a tradition available to explain a point. His two works, 'llal al-shari'ic and Ma'iini al-akhbir, devoted to giving the causes and reasons for things, are made up almost entirely of traditions. Al-Mufid, on the other hand, tends to rely upon reason even when he has traditions at hand which tell of what is attainable by reason. Speaking, for example, of the questioning in the grave, al-Mufid remarks that while revelation is our means of knowing the fact of the questioning, we know by reason that life will be restored to the dead so that they can undergo it. There are also traditions which say that life will be restored, but those traditions, he says, are not necessary because reason can attain that conclusion without their he1p.l Expanding upon Ibn BZbtiya's simple statement that whatever is not specifically prohibited is permitted, al-Mufid explains that while some things call be judged by the unaided intellect to be bad, and about other things the intellect hesitates, yet since the establishment of the Law all things are in fact permitted which are not specifically prohibited. There is, of course, a difference between finding reasons for God's commands post factum and establishing right and wrong by reason. As a matter of fact Ibn BZbiiya does quote with approval al-Fad1 b. ShZdhLn as saying that there are wise reasons for all of God's commands, * and he proceeds to recount the reasons al-Fad1 gives for many of the prescriptions of the Law. Thus Ibn BBbfiya does not deny to reason the right of inquiring into matters of belief or the Law, even though he does not himself exercise this right. In general, .then, Ibn BZbfiya takes a cautious attitude towards rational theology. He limits its use to explaining the meanings of traditions, and even that task he restricts to the experts whom such activity Ta~hih, 46-47. pp. "Risiila," p. 107, F. 116. Tashih, p. 69, quoted supra, p. 297. IBN BABOYA, al-sharci'i' wal-ahkEm wal-asbib 'ZLa1 252-74.

3
4

((Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1966).

Zbid., Zbid.,

pp. 290-91. p. 291.

pp. 251-52. Ibid., pp.

is not likely to harm. Ibn BHbfiya also emphasizes the duty of dissimulation and discourages controversy. On the other hand he did engage in controversy himself, as al-Mufid points out. I n practice Ibn BHbaya sticks close to the letter of traditions, and so his own opinion is often hard to determine. He hints at a theory of knowedge involving innate ideas to explain the harmony of reason and revelation, and he holds that revelation is necessary for man to arrive at knowledge of God. In short, there is some justification for his pupil's criticism that he "followed the method of the traditionists, going by surface meanings and shying away from the paths of reflection." 1 And from this criticism one can infer al-Mufid's own idea of the theologian's task.

CHAPTER X 1 I1

GOD'S UNITY

Ihn BHbiiya was eager to refute the charge that Imamite traditions were irreconcilable with God's Unity and Justice. He says at the beginning of his Kitib al-tawhid, "What moved me to compose this book is that I have found a number of our opponents ascribing to our party the theses of anthropomorphism and determinism when they found in their books traditions whose explanation and true meaning they did not know."' He goes on to say that such traditions are to be interpreted with the same attention to context and willingness to explain apparent difficulties that one gives to the text of the Quran. Evidently he is speaking to adversaries of a Mu'tazilite stamp, who were always ready enough to interpret the Quran's anthropomorphic expressions in a sense other than literal. An examination of the doctrine of God's Justice in the next chapter will show that the Kitib al-tawhid was composed late in Ibn BHbfiya's career when he was in closer contact with Mu'tazilite thinking. The doctrine of Justice which this book expounds will be seen to be notably different from that in "al-HidHya" and the "RisHla." On God's Unity, however, Ibn BHbUya's doctrine shows no such change. Both "al-HidHya" and the "RisHla" are anti-anthropomorphist, and both deny that God can be seen. But in the Kitib al-tawhid Ibn Bgbtiya often interrupts the traditions he is reporting by explanatory remarks of his own, some of which undertake to demonstrate anti-anthropomorphist theses which had been merely stated in his earlier works.

Ta~(tf(t, 66; cf. supra, p. 317. p.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

0 0 ~ UNITY ' ~

One such remark is a proof that God is unlike His creatures. Ibn Biibfiya says: The proof that God is not like any of His creatures in any respect is that none of His acts [i.e., His creatures] has any aspect that is not produced in time (muhdath). And there is no produced aspect that does not indicate the non-eternity of its possessor. So if God were like any of them [i.e., of His "acts," which are His creatures], i t would prove His non-eternity inasmuch as it indicates the noneternity of its possessor. For two things that are similar in the mind necessitate one judgment, according to that aspect in which they are similar. I t is already proved that God is eternal. And it is impossible to be eternal in one respect and temporal in another. l

..

temporal bcings without a first. It does not notice or attempt to deal with the Aristotelian notion of an eternal world. In another remark Ibn BBbiiyZ argues that if therc were two Makers, each would be either able or unable to thwart the will of his fellow. In either case this would indicate non-eternity. Another proof is that each would be able to hide something from his fellow, which also indicates non-eternity. Assumed in both these arguments is the equivalence of eternal to all-powerful, and of temporally produced to the limited. Immediately after this, Ibn BZbiiya mentions the schools of dualists. He says: As for the doctrine of MZni and Ibn Dai~iin,that is, their fables about mixture and the stupidities which the .Majiis believe concerning Ahriman, they are refuted by the refutation of the eternity of bodies. Because they share this common doctrine, I have restricted myself to saying this about both of them, and I have not treated each individually with the questions that could be asked of each. 2 The thesis of the eternity of bodies was not expressly refuted by Ibn Biibiiya in the passage above. Instead he had argued for the impossibility of two eternal makers. True, the theses are closely related, but his confusion of the two indicates a lack of system in his thought. I n a later passage of the Kitib aal-tawhid, the author gives a long, rambling proof of the existence of God from the non-eternity of bodies. The first step is to prove that bodies are not eternal. He says:
Zhid., p. 269: "The proof that the Maker is one and not more is that if they were two, the situation would be that each of them would either have the power to prevent his fellow from what he wants, or he would not have the power. In the first case, they can be frustrated. And he who can be frustrated is produced, just as the made is produced. And if they do not have the power, they are necessarily incapable and deficient, and that indicates production. So it is proved that the Eternal is one. "Another proof: each of them must be able to hide somothing from the other, and if so, the one from whom something can be concealed is produced. And if he is not able, then he is incapable, and the incapable is temporally produced, as we have shown. "And this is the argument refuting two eternals, the qualities of each of them being those of the Eternal whose existence we have established." a Ibid.

The argument is clumsily expressed. Ibn BBbaya is saying that the quality of temporality, or non-eternity (hudgth) adheres to creatures in all their aspects. So everything that can be thought or said about creatures reflects their temporality. But for two objects to be similar, they must have some aspect in common. So calling God similar to a creature would imply that He has some non-eternal quality. just given presumes that God has already been shown The to be eternal. Ibn Biibilya immediately mentions a proof of this. He says :

A proof that God is eternal is that if He were temporally produced, He would have to have a producer, for a deed is done only by a doer. But the same would hold for His producer that holds for Him, and this involves a series of things temporally produced without a first. This is impossible. So it is established that there must be an eternal Maker. And since that is so, what necessitates and proves the eternity of the Maker also necessitates and proves the eternity of our Maker.
This rather cryptically expresses the ordinary kalim argument for the existence of an eternal being from the impossibility of a series of
1 Ibid., pp. 80-81. A similar argument is found in AL-ASH'AR~, "al-Luma'," p. 7, No. 7. a Al-Tawbid, p. 81.

TIiE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF?D

GOD'S UNITY

We find ourselves and all other bodies inseparable from temporal increase and decrease, subject to making and management, and taking on different shapes and forms. And we know necessarily that neither we nor anything else of our genus and subject to the same state has made them [i.e., those changes of size and shape]. And it is neither thinkable nor imaginable that what is never without temporal accidents and did not precede them can be eternal. ' The second step of the argument asserts that the world must have a maker and orderer because of the harmony, order, and mutual dependence found amid the world's complexity. If there cannot be a book without a writer, a ship without a builder, a picture without a painter, he argues, still less can there be a world without a maker and orderer.' Another pmof of the temporality of bodies, which was the first step of the demonstration quoted above, was told to Ibn BHbfiya by a theologian. He says :

separation, movement, and rest are temporally produced. So we know that body is temporally produced since that from which it cannot be separated is temporally pr0duced.l This argument is followed by several objections and answers. The second of the objections asks why the accidents of juncture and separation cannot both be present simultaneously. The exact words are: Seeing that the joined becomes joined only by the presence of juncture and becomes separate by the presence of separation, why do you deny that it can become joined-separate by the presence of both in itself? I t is important to note here that the question for Ibn BHbfiya is of joined or separate bodies, not of joined or separate atoms. For him the world is composed of bodies with their temporal accidents, whereas for al-Mufid and other atomists the world is made of atoms and their accidents, which are joined to make up bodies. Hence in answering the objection just quoted Ibn BHbfiya can maintain that two of the four hawddith (juncture or separation, movement or rest) must always exist in a body, but not the two opposites together. Al-Mufid, with his system of atomism, has been seen to maintain that the whole need not move with the movements of its parts.3 For al-Mufid, all the atoms of a moving body need not be moving. Since al-Mufid has a system of atoms which have permanence and accidents which do not,4 it must be presumed that somewhere in his lost writings he used this in a proof of God's existence from the temporality of the world. Ibn BHbfiya, it has just been seen, also has such a proof, but his world is simpler than al-Mufid's consisting not of atoms, accidents, and bodies, but of bodies and their accidents.

I asked one of the people of Unity and understanding about the proof of the temporality of bodies. He said: "The proof of the temporality of bodies is that they are inseparable in their existence from an adjunct (kawn) whose existence is bound to theirs. This adjunct is position in one particular place. And when a body exists in one position with the possibility of existing in another, it is known to have occupied this particular position only by an accident (ma'nd). And that accident is temporally produced. Therefore the body is temporally produced, since it is inseparable from something produced and 1 did not precede it.3
This is like the former argument except that it uses two technical terms for accident (kawn and ma'nd) and the accident it considers is place rather than size and shape. On the next page Ibn BHbfiya gives another argument for bodies being temporally produced. He says : A proof that bodies are temporally produced is that bodies must be either joined or separate, moving or at rest. And juncture,

Zbid., pp. 298-99. Zbid., p. 299. Ibid.

Ibid., p. 300. Zbid., p. 301, Awi'il, p. 107, quoted supra, p. 207. Awd'il, p. 78.

Ibn Biibfiya, like his disciple al-Mufid, denies that God's attributes have an entity of their own. The argument he uses to establish this thesis is elliptical. He says: The proof that God is knowing, living, and powerful by Himself, not by a knowledge, life, and power other than Himself, is that were He knowing by a knowledge, His knowledge must be either eternal or produced in time. But if it produced in time, then before the production of knowledge He is not knowing, and this is an attribute of deficiency. And everything deficient is temporally produced, according to a proof that has been stated before. But if it is eternal, then there must be another eternal besides God. And this is agreed to be unbelief. And the same holds for the proof of the Powerful and His power and of the Living and His life. And the proof that God is eternally knowing, powerful, and living is that it has been established that he is knowing, powerful, and living by Himself. And it is proved that He is eternal. Therefore He is eternally knowing because His self to which knowledge belongs is eternal. And this proves also that He is eternally powerful and living. 1 The unexpressed premise which should have been put at the beginning of the argument is that God is either knowing, powerful, and living by Himself or by a knowledge, power, and life other than Himself. And with this, the conclusion of the first paragraph would have been that God is knowing, powerful, and living by Himself. Al-Mufid holds the same thesis but does not offer a proof. Instead. he is concerned with combatting another theory of how God's attributes belong to Him: AbE H%shimYs theory of states. Ibn Bgbfiya distinguishes God's attributes of essence from those of act. He says : When we describe God by attributes of His essence, we mean by each attribute only to deny its opposite in Him. We say that God
a
1
S

has always been Hearer, Seer, Knower, wise, powerful, glorious, living, subsistent, one, and eternal. For these are attributes of His essence. We do not say He has always been Creator, Doer, willing, intending, approving, disapproving, nourishing, bountiful, and speaking, for these are attributes of His acts. They are temporally produced, and it is not permissible to say God has always been qualified by them. l Al-Mufid's comment on this distinction does not add anything to what Ibn BHbfiya has said.2 Both hold that God has always had His attributes of essence and that they mean only that He cannot be described by their opposites.

Ibn BHbfiya's doctrine that God is knowing by Himself and that this is His eternal, essential attribute makes it necessary for him to deal with the old Shi'ite doctrine of badi'. He begins by relating traditions about the importance of the doctrine. Thus, for example, God is glorified by nothing so much as the doctrine of badi'. And, "If people kncw how much reward there is for talking about badi', they would never tire of speaking of it." The doctrine of badi' was in fact a distinctive mark of Imamite Shi'ism in the eyes of both its adherents and its critics. But by Ibn BHbfiya's time the problem had become an argument about the meaning of the word. BadZY,the verbal noun of badi ( u ) , when followed by the particle li, means to become manifest or to seem good. The word appears in the first meaning six times in the Quran, and the one to whom a subject becomes manifest is never God. Four times the object of the manifestation is the damned on the Day of Judgment (for example, "the evil of what "RisBla," p. 68, F. 30-31. See also al-Tawbid, p. 148. Tasbib, p. 10. Al-Tawbid, p. 333. Ibid., p. 334.

Al-Tawbid, p. 223. Awi'il, p. 18; al-Fryr71, p. 279, quoted supra, p. 140.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MW?D

GOD'S UNITY

they did will appear to them"),' and twice the object is Adam and Eve, to whom their own shame becomes manifest after they have eaten of the tree. The second meaning occurs only once in the Quran, referring to Joseph's Egyptian masters: "Then it seemed good to them, after they had seen the signs, to imprison him for a while." On at least two occasions i ~ Shi'ite history, badEYwas applied to i God (badi li-llih). Thus a persistent problem arose for Imamite theologians: what can the expression mean when it has to do with God? The Sunnite observer, al-~hahrastlhi,outlined the possibilities this way: Bad2 has several meanings : [a] Badi' in knowledge, when the opposite of what He knew occurs to Him. I do not think any intelligent person holds this belief. [b] Bad2 in will, when a right course occurs to Him which is the opposite of what He had known and judged to be right. [c] Badi' in command. That is, He commands something and then afterwards commands its opposite. Anyone who holds the possibility of abrogation considers different commands at different times successively abrogating. Both al-Baghdiidi4 and al-Shahrastiinis agree in ascribing the doctrine to al-Mukhtiir, who invented or invoked it to explain the defeat of his army in a battle where he had said God promised victory. This is clearly a situation where badi' means that God changed His mind or will, not merely His command. The Imamites, however, never considered al-MukhtZr one of their own. He is mentioned here simply because he is the earliest Shi'ite to whom the doctrine of bad2 has been ascribed. The occasion when badE li-llih enters definitely into Imamite tradition is the awkward situation caused by the premature death of Ismi'il.
Quran, 45:33; cf. also 6:28, 39:47, 39:48, 7:22, and 20:21. Zbid., 12:35. a A'-SHAHRAST~~N~, p. 110. As the stands, the last sentence reads: "Anyone Sects, who does not hold the possibility. . . " But this does not make sense in the context. It seems that the lam in line 11 does not belong there. 4 Al-Farq bain al,braq, p. 33. 5 Sects, p. 110.
1
2

The Imam Ja'far is reported to have said, "God has never been so led by a new consideration ( m i bad6 li-llzh) as in the case of my son Ismii'il." 1 Whatever the explanations to be adduced by rationally inclined theologians, the tradition as it stands indicates more than a mere change of God's command. The successor to the Imam Ja'far had been named, not just commanded. This notion of badi', introduced by Ja'far into Imamite tradition to relieve an uncomfortable situation, was to become a point of contention between the Imamites and their Mu'tazilite critics, who strongly insisted upon God's immutability. Al-Jiibiz mentions the word in a series of embarrassing questions he throws up to an Imamite.2 Al-KhayyZf says of the RZfidites, "They all hold badi'. That is, God announces He will do something and then changes His mind (thummayabda lahu) and does not do it." But a shift had already begun, at least among some Imamites. Al-Khayyiif reports: Then the author of the book [i.e., Ibn al-Rawandi] says: "As for badi', the more intelligent of the Shi'a hold the same thesis that the Mu'tazilites hold on the subject of abrogation. The difference between them is verbal, not real." We answer: the Riifidites do not know what you are talking about. This idea has been suggested to them only recently by certain persons who have been frequenting the Mu'tazilites. All the
Al-Tawhid, p. 336. AL-NAWBAKHT~, al-shi'a, pp. 55-56, relates that at Firaq the death of Isml'il a faction, disappointed in their belief in Ja'far's infallibility, split off to follow the Zaidi Sulaimsn b. Jarir. Sulaimln charged the Imams with dishonesty on two counts: taqiyya and badd'. He said: "As for badi', it was when they arrogated to themselves the status in the eyes of their own sect which the prophets had in the eyes of their people by reason of their knowledge of the past, present, and future. They told their sect, 'This is what will happen tomorrow and in days to come.' If the thing happened as they had foretold, they said, 'Didn't we tell you this would take place? We have information from God of what no one knew except the prophets, and we have the same sort of relationship to God as that by which the prophets got their knowledge.' And if what they had predicted did not happen, they said, 'God has changed His mind (bad6 li-lk6h) about creating that.' " 8 AL-JAY?, Kitdb al-tarbi' zual-fadwir, ed. Ch. Pellat (Damascus: Institut frangais de Damas, 1955), p. 42. Al-Znti~cir,p. 6.

GOD'S UNITY

RHfidites hold badd' in what concerns revelation. The thesis of abrogation has nothing to do with badd' in revelation. Two pieces of information appear from this exchange. First, under Mu'tazilite attraction or criticism some, but not all, of the Imamites had begun to change their view of badd'. Even Ibn al-Rawandi implies a difference between the intelligent members of his party and those who were not. Second, the rationally inclined Imamites were defending their tradition by restricting the meaning of badi' to a change of command, which was al-Shahrastiini's third meaning for the term. According to al-ShahrastHni, al-MukhtHr himself had used such a d e f e n ~ e . ~ On the other hand, Ibn al-Rawandi made use of badi' to score a dialectical point against the Mu'tazilite notion of an unchangeable God : An agent to whom new ideas occur (ta'ridu lahu I-badawdt) and to whom acts are not impossible is mightier and more worthy of mention than an agent who cannot add or take anything away from his own act, who cannot advance or retard it.3 Here Ibn al-Rawandi must have meant by bad6' something more than mere change of command (naskh), with which the Mu'tazilites would have no quarrel. Al-Ash'ari gives this account of the division of the Shi'ites over the meaning of badi': The first group of them says that God gets new ideas (tabdzl lahu I-badawdt) and that He wants to do something at one time but then does not make it happen because of a new idea that occurs to Him about it (limd yahduthu lahu min al-badi'). And if He has made a law and then abrogated it, that is because He thought better of it (bad6 lahu fihd). And if He knows something is to happen but has told nobody about it, a change of mind (al-badd') is still possible; but if He has told a creature about it, no change of mind is possible.
b

The second group holds that a change of plan is possible to God in what He knows is to happen, so long as it has not yet happened. And they apply this just as much to what He has told His creatures will take place as to that for which He has given no information. The third group of them holds that it is not possible for God to change His mind (Id yajiizu 'ali-llghi ... al-bndi'), and they exclude this from Him. 1 To al-Ash'ari's first group may belong theologians like HishZm b: al-Hakam, who had held that God could have new ideas. The third group, which simply denied God can change His mind, shows that not all Shi'ites then held any kind of badi'. Possibly they would explain the word as meaning abrogation. But it is the second group that faces squarely the problem raised by Ja'far al-SHdiq's remark. At least in their interpretation, God had declared to Ja'far His intention of having IsmH'il succeed him and then had taken his life. This was no mere command, but a revelation. If it had been a mere reversible order, the infallibility of the Imam Ja'far would be open to question. Such was the state of Imamite thought on the problem of badi' before Ibn Blbtiya. After relating several traditions about the importance of badi', Ibn BZbtiya launches into 'his own explanation. He says: Badi' is not, as ignorant people think, the badd' of repentance. Far is God above that! But we must admit that God does have badi' in the sense that He begins one of His creatures, creating it before another thing, and then destroys it and begins the creation of another. Or He gives a command and then He forbids such a thing, or He forbids something and then orders the like of what He has forbidden. Examples of this are the abrogation of laws and the changing of the qibla and the waiting period of widows. This in effect reduces badi' to abrogation, as Ibn al-Rawandi had wished to do. Ibn BHbtiya goes on to make a further approach to a com) mon Mu'tazilite doctrine : Q
1

Zbid., p. 127. Sects, p. 110: "And he did not distinguish between nasM and badi'. He said, 'If naskh is admissible in ordinances, so too bad3 is admissible in revelation'." However this looks more like a comparison a pari than a simple identification. a AL-KHAYY~T,129-130. pp.
1
2

Magilit, p. 39. Ibid., p. 41. Al-Tawbid, p. 335.

THE THEOLOOY OF AL-SIIAIKII A L - M U P ~

GOD'S UNITY

God never gives His creatures a command urilcss He knows it is in their best interests at that time for Him to order them so. And He knows it to be for their interests at another time that He forbid them what He had commanded. When that time comes, He commands them what is best for then1 then. No Mu'tazilite would quarrel with this ascription to God of abrogation for the creature's best interests from time to time. Ibn BPbiiya makes the further point that the doctrine of badi' simply means that God is free in His actions. He says: So he who asserts of God that He may do what He wills and annihilate what He wills, create a place for it as He wills, make things come sooner or later as He wills, and that He orders what He wills and how He wills, has asserted bada". And God is glorified by nothing so much as by the assertion that His is creation and command, making a thing come sooner or later, bringing to be what was not and abolishing what was.2 Another point in favor of the doctrine, says Ibn BPbiiya, is its usefulness in polemics : And BadP'is a refutation of the Jews, for they say that God has finished with ordering, while we say that every day God is engaged in giving and taking away life, nourishing, and doing what He wills. Ibn BHbfiya goes on to make the further point that God's action is conditioned by the creature's free moral behavior: Bada" is not repentance. Rather it is an appearance of something. The Arabs say, "A person met me (bada' li) on the way," that is, appeared (gahara). And God has said, "And there will appear to them (bada' lahum) what they have not counted on [Quran, 39:47]," that is, ~ahara lahum. And whenever there appears to God - exalted is His name - a connection in a creature with his kin, He increases his Iife. And when a break with his kin appears to God, He takes something away from his life. And when fornication or adultery
1

appear to Him from the side of the creature, He lessens his nourishment and life. When there appears to Him restraint from fornication, He increases nurture and life.' With this much said by way of explaining badi' as abrogation of an order and response to free actions, good or bad, of the creature, Ibn BHbiiya proceeds to deal with the Imam Ja'far's tradition: Hence the remark of al-SHdiq. "Nothing ever occurred anew to God (ma' badi li-llzhi badi'un) like what occurred to Him in the case of my son IsmP'il." He says: nothing appeared anew to God (~aharali-llihi) like what appeared to Him in the case of my son IsmPCil,for He took him away before me in order to show that he is not Imam after me. And something strange has been related to me about that by way of Abti 1-Husain al-Asadi - may God be pleased with him! He reported that al-Sgdiq said, "Nothing ever occurred anew to God like what occurred to Him in the case of my ancestor IsmH'i1 [i.e., abi for ibnt'], for He commanded his father to sacrifice him, and then He redeemed him with a great sacrifice." I have an explanation for either of these versions, but I have brought them up for the meaning of the expression bada". God is the helper to what is right! Naturally the second version of the tradition is easier for a theologian to explain, since God commanded IbrHhim to sacrifice his son (the
1 Al-Tawbid, p. 336. The same point is made in "RisHla," p. 73, F. 42 : "Al-SHdiq has said: 'God never sent a prophet without first obliging him to maintain belief in God and His service and reject His rivals. He retards what He wills and advances what He wills. An instance of this is His abrogating previous laws and judgments by the Law and judgments of our Prophet. For example, He abrogated the Books by the Quran.' And al-Siidiq said: 'I dissociate myself from anyone who says God bad6 in something He did not know yesterday,' and, 'We dissociate ourselves from whoever asserts that repentance ever appears in God in anything'." 2 Al-Tawbid, p. 336. The tradition is also treated in "RisHla," p. 73, F. 42: "And as for al-Szdiq's saying, 'Nothing ever appeared to God like what appeared to Him in the affair of my son Ismfi'il,' he was saying that nothing ever appeared to God like what appeared to Him in the affair of my son IsmH'il, because He took him before me, making known that he is not be Imam after me." Fyzee's translation, "Nothing manifested (itself) from (the will of) Allsih," does not correspond to the Tehran text of 1292 H. It does not seem likely that Ibn BHbfiya changed the particle from li to min, since al-Mufid, as will appear below, made the change without appealing to his teacher's authority.

a
8

Zbid. Ibid. Ibid., pp.

335-36. The same point is made in "Risiila," p. 73, F. 41.

THE THEOLOOY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

GOD'S UNITY

Quran does not say which son) in order to test Ibrlhim, and God simply retracted the command when IbrHhim passed the test. There is no problem here of new knowledge or a change in God's intention. The question remains, however, in the first version. For if God revealed to Ja'far who his successor would be, the difficulty is not answered by explaining badl' as mere abrogation of a command or of reward or punishment following upon a creature's free action. The problem presented by this tradition is one of knowledge, not of mere contingent will. So after all of Ibn Blbfiya's explanations, the problem remains. Al-Mufid's handling of bad6' in the Awl'il al-maq616t is clearly conciliatory toward the term's critics. First he reduces badl' to simple abrogation : O n the meaning of badZy, I say it is what all the NIuslims say about abrogation and the like, as giving poverty after riches, sickness after health, and death after life, and also what the People of Justice especially say about increasing and curtailing the term of life and nourishment according to one's w0rks.l Al-Mufid is quite frank, too, about the awkwardness of the expression and about his own reason for using it: As for using the term bad$, I came to i t by way of traditions received from the mediators between creatures and God. Had it not been not received in traditions of whose truth I a m certain, I w ~ u l d think the term a proper one to use, just as if there were no traditions about God being angry and pleased, loving and surprised, I would not use those terms of Him. But since there are accepted traditions, I use the expressions in a sense that is not repugnant to reason.P A Mu'tazilite speaking of the anthropomorphic expressions in the Quran would say as much. The only quarrel he would have with alMufid is whether a tradition from an Imam deserves the same respect. And one might wonder if al-Mufid speaks for the generality of Imamites of his time. So he continues: There is no difference between me and all the Muslims on this score, and anyone who does differ from them does so only verbally,
1
"

in no other way. I have explained my reason for using the term, which ought to settle the discussion. This is the view of all the Imamites. Anyone who differs in his view of it dislikes, as we have said, the name and not the idea.l But even the defense of badi' by a parallel to the anthropomorphic expressions of the Quran does not squarely face the problem raised by Ja'far's tradition. Al-Mufid takes this up in his commentary on Ibn BHbiiya's creed. First he points out, as Ibn BHbiiya had done, that bad6 means Gahara. Then he begins to deal with the particle after it. He says: The Arabs say, "A good deed occurred to so-and-so (bad6 li-fulin), and an eloquent speech occurred to him," just as they say these things "appeared from so-and-so (bada' min fulln)," making the lim stand in its place. So the meaning of the Imamites' saying, bad6 liIllhi fi kadha', is "appeared to Him in it (Gahara lahu fihi)." And the meaning of "appeared in it" is "appeared from Him (~ahara minhu)." What is meant here is not a change of mind or a matter coming clear which had formerly been hidden from Him. All His actions upon His creatures which appear after they have been nonexistent have been known [to Him] from eternityW2 Having accomplished the change from lahu to minhu by this neat piece of semantic sleight-of-hand, al-Mufid is now ready to explain why Ja'far used the expression in the first place: Only that act is described by the term bada'' whose appearance was not counted on and whose occurrence was not thought likely. The term is not used for what is known and considered likely. And the saying of Abn 'Abd Alllh - on him be peace! - "God never had a badl' in anything like the bad2 He had in the case of Isml'il," meant the warding-off of his murder which appeared from Him. For this was what people feared and expected would happen to him. So God showed him kindness by keeping it from him. A tradition came from al-Sldiq about this. I t is related of him -on him be peace ! - that he said, "Murder had been written for IsmH'il twice. I asked God to keep it from him, and He did." Something may be "written" conditionally, and circumstances may
1
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Awi'il, p. 53.

Ibid., pp. 53-54.


Tafhih, pp. 24-25.

Ibid.

GOD'S UNITY

change ... And God has said in what He related of Noah in his exhortation to his people, "Ask pardon of your Lord. He is forgiving, and He will let loose the skies for you in plenteous rain," to the end of the verse [Quran, 71 :lo-1 11. 'Thus He made extension of their lives and abundant blessings conditional upon their asking for mercy. When they did nnt do so, He shortened the term of their lives, cut off their lifespan, and destroyed them in punishment. Thus bada' from God specifies what is conditional in His preordination, and it is neither a transfer from one decision to another nor a change of mind. Far is God above what the liars say of Him. Once the meaning of the particle li has been changed to min, the appearance signified in bada" is an appearance to men, not to God. And the idea it expresses now seems the same as that of the quranic passages,z where the unexpected appears to men from God's hand. This interpretation offers al-Mufid an alternative to taking bad;' as a ~ metaphor, as he had done in the A ~ d ' i l . He still admits, however, that the latter solution is also reasonable. He says: Some of our colleagues have said that the term bada" has a basic meaning of change of mind and transfer from one decision to another, and that it is used of God only in a borrowed sense, just as one uses metaphorically, not literally, the terms anger and pleasure. This view does not harm the doctrine, for metaphorical speech is applied to God in instances where revelation warrants it, and there is a use in revelation of bad2 as we have shown. And what we have affirmed, that the meaning of bada" is appearance - as we have explained above - specifically applies to an event whose occurrence was unlikely. For if this were the case in every occurrence from God, bada" would be attributed to God in all His acts. But all agree this is not so.* Al-Mufid's doctrine on badly does not represent a new direction different from that of his master, Ibn Bgbfiya. They both set out to nterpret the doctrine so as to harmonize it with God's eternal attribute Zbid., p. 25. Supm, p. 331, n. 1 . Awd'il, p. 53, cited supra, p. 336. Tafbib, pp. 25-26,
.

of omniscience. The difference is that al-Mufid is less scrupulous about adhering to the letter of the tradition in question, and so he is more successful in accomplishing the aim they both had.

Ibn BBbfiya denies the possibility of ocular vision of God. Traditions which speak of seeing God he explains in a non-literal sense. He says : The meaning of "vision of God" occurring in traditions is knowledge. That is, this world is the home of doubts, uncertainties, and imaginings. So on the Day of Resurrection God's signs and His reward and His punishment will be unveiled to men in such a way as to dispel doubts about Him and teach the reality of God's power. l No Mu'tazilite could put this more clearly. In general, Ibn BHbEya is careful to give non-anthropomorphic interpretations to traditions which seem to say God has a body or can be seen. And when al-Mufid takes issue with him over particular points of interpretation, the difference is not essential. For example, al-Mufid interpretation of "My two hands" (Quran, 38:75), rejects Ibn BBbfiyaYs as meaning God's quwwa and qudra on the grounds that quwwa and qudra are synonymous. Al-Mufid proposes instead that in the verse, " 0 Iblis, what prevents you from adoring what I have created with My two hands?" the two hands refer to two favors, in this world and in the next, and that the particle bi stands for li. So the sense is: "What prevents you from adoring what I have created for My two favors?" Or the meaning of the two hands could be power and favor. At any rate, the difference between Ibn Bgbfiya and al-Mufid is not Al-Tawbld, p. 120. Quran, 38:75. Ta,$zib, 5-6, referring to "Risda," p. 65, F. 28. AL-ASH~ARI, pp. MaqLikit, p: 218,
calls the interpretation of God's "hands" as favor a Mu'tazilite position; and In his Zbdna, pp. 39-40, he argues against calling it power and two favours. One of the points in his argument is that there would be no acceptable reason for using the dual. AIMufid's interpretation may be an effort to meet such literal thinking.

a
3

basic. Both are unwilling to take the verse literally. Many of al-Mufid's comments upon Ibn Babfiya's "Rislla" have no more importance than this example.
CHAPTER XIV

JUSTICE

Ibn Blbiiya's thought shows a certain development in its treatment of the problem of predetermination of man's acts. In his "KitPb alhidBya" he wishes to avoid making God responsible for man's disobedience, without however embracing the opposite thesis of man's of self-determination. He says : One must believe that God neither delegates sovereignty to man nor coerces him to disobedience, and that He has not laid any obligation upon His servants that they cannot fulfill. As God has said, "God tasks not a soul beyond its scope [Quran, 2:286]." And al-Siidiq has said: "There is no coercion and no delegation of sovereignty, but something in between." l This reflects the tendency in the Imamite rnovement at least since the time of the Imam Ja'far to seek a middle ground between Mu'tazilism and Sunnite traditionism. Then Ibn Blbiiya quotes two traditions advising that the whole problem be avoided. He says: I t is related of Zurlra that he said: I said to al-SBdiq: "May I be your sacrifice! What do you say about the decree and destiny (qadi' and qadar) ?" He said: "I say, when God gathers men for the Day of Resurrection, He will ask them about what He has imposed on them ('ahada ilaihirn). He will not ask them about what He has decreed for them." a
1 8
8

1 For example, "God's breath" (Quran, 15:29) is said by Ibn Bgbfiya to be a created breath which God ascribes to Himself as its special owner; al-Mufid explains further (Ta~hib, 4 ff.) that what God "breathes" upon He means to honor. Ibn pp. BHbfiya says that God's "mockery" of the sinner is a metaphor; al-Mufid explains that the same term is used for the act and its requital because of the connection between them (ibid., p. 7). Ibn BPbiiya says that the Tablet and the Pen are two angels; al-Mufid however maintains that the Tablet is literally God's book, and the Pen is that whereby God produces writing on it (ibid., pp. 28-29).

"Al-HidPya," p. 5. See W. MADELUNG, "Imamism and Mu'tazilite Theology," p. 18, and n. I. cCAl-HidHya,"p. 5.

TIIE THP.OLOOY OF AL-SHAIKII AL-MUPID

JUSTICE

This implicitly admits that there is a planned destiny for men, even though the point of the tradition is that a man will not be held responsible for everything. Emphasizing further his advice to avoid the whole subject, Ibn BZbfiya reports a saying of 'Ali about destiny: "It is a deep sea; enter it not... It is a dark road; follow it not... It is God's secret; trouble Him not." But immediately after this, Ibn BHbEya closes his treatment of the matter by rejecting one side of the dispute. He says: "And one must believe that the Qadarites are the Magians of this Community; they are the ones who wanted to describe God by His justice, so they have deprived Him of His dominion." 2 The reference to this tradition here is undoubtedly aimed against the Mu'tazilite doctrine on God's Justice. Thus in his "KitZb al-hidiiya" Ibn BHbiiya, while denying that God either forces men to disobey or commands them to do what is beyond their power, is nevertheless opposed to the doctrine of man's power to choose his own acts. In his "Risiilat al-i6tiqZdZt" Ibn Biibiiya deals with the problem of the creation of man's acts. He says: Our belief concerning men's acts is that they are created by predetermination (khalq taqdir), not by production (khalq takwin). The meaning is that God forever knows their [i.e., the acts'] outlines (maqidirihi).s This is an attempt to soften the doctrine of determinism by calling it knowledge and distinguishing it from the actual production of acts. But foreknowledge of the ccoutlines" of the acts is still quite enough to leave Ibn BZbaya in the determinist camp, for if the outlines of the acts are laid down beforehand, then God's "knowledge," in Ibn BZbiiya's scheme, is also determinative of the acts. Al-Mufid criticizes him strongly for this. He points out that knowledge, in the true sense, is one things and taqdir another. He says:
1

The sound tradition from the family of Muhammad is that man's acts are not created by God. And what Abii Ja'far has said came by an invalid tradition whose chain of authority is not approved. The true traditions say the opposite. And it is unknown in the language of the Arabs for knowledge of something to be creation of it. Were it as the opponents of truth maintain, then anyone who knows the Prophet would necessarily have created him! And whoever knows heaven and earth is their creator! And whoever knows anything that God has made and affirms it in his own mind - why he must be its creator! That is absurd. Its error escapes none of the followers of the Imams, much less the Imams themselves. As for taqdir, linguistically it is creation. For taqdir takes place only by an action. As for knowledge, it is not taqdir, nor can it [i.e., taqdir] be mere thought. Far is God above creating monstrosities and evil deeds in any case! Al-Mufid goes on to quote the Imams MusZ and 'Ali RidZ as saying that man does produce and is solely responsible for his acts. Then, in his "Risiilat al-iCtiqZdZt," Ibn BZbiiya reports the Imam Ja'far's explanation of his own dictum that the truth is somewhere between constraint and delegation as meaning that: For instance, you see a man intent upon an act of disobedience, and you forbid him, but He does not desist. So you leave him, and he does the act of disobedience. Now just because he did not accept your [advice] and you left him, you are not the one who commanded him to commit disobedience. a This explanation does not satisfy al-Mufid, who says, first, that the tradition is incompletely supported. Agreeing that jabr means forcing a man to an act, and that t~fwidmeans lifting prohibitions altogether, al-Mufid goes on to say: The mean between these two theses is that God empowered creatures for their acts and gave them ability for their deeds, and He
Tajhib, pp. 11-12.
a

Ibid. Ibid.

"Risila," p. 69, F. 31-32.

"RisPla,"

p.

69, I. 32-33. ?

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

JUSTICE

set bounds and limits for them, and He forbade them to do evil by reprimanding and warning, by the Promise and the Threat.l Here al-Mufid has actually said what Ibn BBbfiya was unwilling to say: that God gives man the power to choose his deeds. Ibn BBbfiya had gone so far as to deny that men are forced to disobey, but he did not entirely disavow the thesis that man's acts are preordained. Speaking about God's will, Ibn BBbfiya distinguishes between what God wills (shd'a and arlda being used synonymously) and what He does not like (lam yuhibba) or approve (lam yarda). He says: He wills (shd'a) that nothing take place without His knowledge, and arida is like that. And he does not like to be called the third of three, and does not approve of the unbelief of His servants. This was a favorite distinction of the Sunnite determinists, for it enabled them to say God wills all of man's actions, good and evil, everything that He foreknows, but that He approves only of the good.3 AlMufid strongly disagrees and maintains that: The truth of the matter is that God wills (yurid) only good actions and intends (yashd') only beautiful deeds. He does not will the evil and does not intend the monstrous. Far is God above what the deceivers say!

saying flatly that God wills disobedience. But God's knowledge, in this scheme, is determinative. Al-Mufid, like the Mu'tazilites, refuses to say that God wills evil in any sense. After quoting several quranic passages, Ibn BBbfiya turns to face the objections of those who deny that God in any sense wills disobedience. H e says: This is our belief concerning His will and intention. Our opponents denounce us for that, saying we hold that God wills disobedience and willed the murder of al-Husain b. 'Ali. This is not what we say. But we do say God willed the disobedience of sinners to be contradistinguished from the obedience of the obedient. And He willed that acts of disobedience should not be ascribed to Him as His actions. And He willed to be described as knowing them before they happened. I n this response Ibn BBbfiya is attempting to shift the object of God's will from the act to the moral status of the act. But he does not say directly, as al-Mufid does, that God does not will evil deeds. He only says that al-Husain's murder was "something disliked and not approved" I by GodeZ t was a n act which God could have prevented by force but chose only to forbid by His command. However at the end of his argument Ibn BBbfiya sums up his doctrine thus: We say that God always knew al-Husain would die a violent death and by his death attain everlasting happiness, and his murderers everlasting misery. And we say that what God wills is, and what He does not will is not.3 Ibn BBbfiya has tried to make God's will, identified here with His foreknowledge, apply simply to the moral status of the act. But this was only to save appearances on a point where he was being pressed by a Mu'tazilite argument. His true position is revealed in the last sentence:

It should be remembered that for Ibn BHbfiya God's will is his foreknowledge of the outlines of the acts. This is his attempt to avoid
Ta~bib,pp. 14-15. "Risila," p. 69, F. 33. 8 AL-ASH'AR~, Maqdldt, p. 294, says of the People of the Sunna: "They hold that God does not command evil, but forbids it and commands the good; and that He does not approve of evil, even though He wills it." The same distinction is expressed in article seven of the ''Wa~iyatAbii @anifas" and article seven of "Fikh Abkar 11." See WENSINCK, Muslim Creed, pp. 126, 191. The 4 Al-Mufid ignores the distinction between God's will and. His goodpleasure, implying that there is none. This is a Mu'tazilite position. See al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 51, where 'Abd al-Jabbir expressly maintains that God's goodpleasure belongs to His willing. Not at issue here is the intramural Mu'tazilite dispute: the Baghdadis (and al-Mufid with them) holding that God's command is identical with His will for the acts of others, against the Basrans, who maintained they are distinct. For this, see supra, pp. 147-48. The point at issue here is that both Mu'tazilite schools, and al-Mufid with them, denied that God wills moral evil.

Ibid., p. 70, F. 35. The whole passage is: "We say that God willed al-Uusain's murder to be disobedience to Him and the opposite of obedience. And we say that God willed his murder to be disliked and disapproved. And we say that God willed his murder to be a cause of God's displeasure and not the cause of His approval. And we say God willed not to prohibit his murder by force and power, as He prohibited it by forbidding it." lbid.

THE TlIEOLOGY O F AL-SHAIKH A L - h f U ~ i D

JUSTICE

what God wills happens, and what God does not will does not happen. 1 God, then, must will all that happens, including disobedience. Al-Mufid points out that the subterfuge of applying God's will to the moral status of the act and saying God's will is His foreknowledge does not extricate Ihn Bibtiya from the charge of determinism. He says: The determinists' avoidance of saying unreservedly that God wills to be disobeyed and disbelieved, that His friends be killed and His loved ones vilified, by saying instead that He wills what He knows to take place as He knows [it] and wills that disobedience be evil and forbidden, [really] means a persistence in what they [claim to] have fled and an entanglement in what they [claim to] have disowned. For if the evil He knows happens as He knows it, and God was willing that the evil He knew should be as He knew it, then He wills the evil, and He has willed that it should be evil. So what sense is there in fleeing from one thing to the same thing and in their escape from one idea to the same idea?a Speaking of God's decree and destiny, Ibn Bibtiya reports several traditions whic'h forbid inquiry into such matters, including the two which he had mentioned in the "Kitib al-hidiya."3 But he does not repeat here in the "Risila" that the Qadarites are the Magians of Islam. His unwillingness to discuss the matter is in keeping with his previous rejection of disputation (jadal) . But al-Mufid will not let him avoid the issue so easily. He says that Ibn Bibfiya's traditions are weak. Then he says that qadi' can have four meanings: creation, command, indication, and a judgment in a decision. He illustrates these four senses of the word from quranic verses and says that in none of them can God be said to predestine man's evil deeds. Al-Mufid concludes that God exercises qadi' and qadar by commanding man's good acts, forbidding his bad acts, and giving him the power freely to act on his own.4
1 This adage is appealed to by A L - ~ H ' A R when he argues on the same subject. ~ See Maqdldt, p. 291; Ibina, p. 46. a Tqhih, p. 18. 8 "Risgla," p. 71, F. 36-37. See sr~pra, pp. 341-42. Tafbib, pp. 19-20.

xL
I .b

9' 1 1

Al-Mufid agrecs with Ibn BHbtiya that the verses mentioning guidancc and leading astray are not to be taken literally but mean that God shows men what is right. This, al-Mufid says, is the way of Justice, opposed to that of detcrmini~rn.~ And he explains that fatara 'ali 1-tawhid means that God created man for confession of His Unity.2 In his KitZb al-tawhid Ibn Bibtiya makes it his purpose to answer charges that Imamites are anthropomorphists and determinists. And in opposing the latter charge he interprets certain embarrassing traditions in a way markedly different from the doctrine he had expressed in the "Kitiib al-hidiya" and the c'Risila." I n the Kitib al-tawhid he quotes a tradition of the Imam 'Ali R i d i which deals with the problem whether a sinner's disobedience thwarts God's will. He says: God has two wills (iridatain) and two intentions (mashi'atain) : an effective will (iridat hatm) and a signified will (iridat 'azm). He forbids while He wills, and H e commands while He does not will. Have you not seen that He forbade Adam and his wife to eat of the tree, while H e willed i t ? Had H e not willed it, they would not have eaten. And if they had eaten, their will would have thwarted God's will. And He commanded Ibrihim to sacrifice his son Ismici1, while He willed him not to. And had He not willed him not to sacrifice him, IbrZhim's will would have thwarted God's. This tradition attempts to solve the prcblem by making God's command (i.e., His signified will) contradict His own effective will. But His effective will is that Adam commit an act of disobedience by
1

Zbid., p. 23; "RisHla," p. 72, F. 39; Quran, 90:10. Ta$(ib, p. 22. Al-Mufid, however, goes on to remark that: "Its meaning is not

that He wanted confession of Unity from them. Were that the case, there would be no creature who was not a confessor of Unity. But our finding creatures who do not confess God's Unity is a proof that He did not create confession of Unity in creatures. Rather He created them so that they might acquire confession of divine Unity." If the text here is correct, then al-Mufid is being inconsistent. For this implies that everything good that God wills happens. Drawn to its logical conclusion, it would mean that those who do not confess God's Unity were not willed by God to do so, and thus they were not able to believe. Al-Mufid's real position on the subject is that God's will is identical with His command. See Awd'il, p. 19, quoted supra, p. 147. a Al-Tawbid, p. 64.

JUSTICE

eating. Ibn Bibtiya's explanatory comment on the tradition seeks to avoid the embarrassing thesis that God wills disobedience. He says: God forbade Adam and his wife to eat of the tree, knowing that they would eat of it. But He willed not to prevent them from eating by compulsion and power, as He prohibited their eating by forbidding and chiding. So this is the meaning of His will towards them. And if He has willed to prevent them from eating by compulsion and then they had eaten of it, their will would have thwarted God's will, as the savant - on him be peace! - has said. Far is God from being impotent! l In place of the tradition's dual distinction between God's command and His will, Ibn Bibtiya's explanation offers a triple distinction: God's command, His knowledge, and His will. He commanded them not to eat; He knew they would eat; He willed that they not be forcibly prevented from eating. This avoids saying that God willed Adam to disobey, even though it does not say God willed that Adam freely choose whether to eat or not. How does this differ from the explanation given in the "Rislla" that God willed not to prevent al-Husain's murder by force, but only by his word?2 That explanation must be viewed in the light of its conclusion; that what God wiIIs is, and what God does not will is not. Such a conclusion is absent from the KitZb al-tawhid. Later on in the same book, Ibn BHbfiya gives another explanation that goes even further and identifies, as a Muctazilite would, God's will, His command, and His goodpleasure. He says: God's intention and will with regard to obedience is His commanding it and His goodpleasure in it. And with regard to disobedience, it is His forbidding it and prohibiting it by rebuke and warning. This identification of God's will with His goodpleasure flatly contradicts the distinction Ibn BHbiiya had made in the " R i ~ i l a . " ~
pp. 65-66. Cited supra, p. 345, n. 2. 8 Al-Tawbid, p. 346. Here he is in agreement with the Mu'taxilites. See al-Mugllni, VI, Part 2, 218, where God is said to will all that He commands and not to will any evil act. 4 "Ris?ila", p. 69, F. 33, quoted supra, p. 344.
2

In another passiige of the Kitlib al-tawhld, I l n BHbfiya departs from his previously exprcsscd refusaI to discuss God's decree and destiny. Explaining a tradition which states that disobcdicncc is "not by God's command, but by God's decree, God's destiny, by His intention, and His will," Ibn 't3fbiiya says that God's qadli' for disobedience is His judgment of it, His will in it is His forbidding it, and His qadar in it is His knowledge of its outlines (maqZdir) and extent.' And explaining another tradition he remarks that qadli' and qadar for an act mean God's notification, writing, and telling; or it can mean His judgment and imposition of moral obligation. Or it can be His explanation of an act's conditions, bounds, and limits: that is, whether it is good or bad, obligatory or supererogatory.2 Then he quotes with approval an unnamed savant who said there can be ten meanings to q ~ d Z ' . ~ These ten meanings would leave plenty of room for softening quranic texts which have a bearing on predestination. In his "Kitlb al-hidlya" Ibn Blbiiya had said that the Qadarites are the Magians of Islam. In his "Risglat al-i'tiqidEtn he had said that what God wills happens and what He does not will does not happen. In his KitZb al-tawhid he came around to identifj4ng God's wilI with His command and goodpleasure. And in his introduction to this book, Ibn Blbiiya describes himself as "a resident of ray^."^ Hence this is a work of his later years spent at the Bayid court of Rayy, where the pressure of the vizier al-Sibib b. 'AbbHd or the influence of Muctazilite arguments may well have changed his thinking.

A related problem is how to avoid saying that God does injustice. Commenting on the death of IbrHhim, the Prophet's infant son, Ibn BHbiiya touches on the problem of the evil that befalls infants, who
Al-Tawbid, p. 370. This interpretation notably softens the traditibn.
Vbid.

Ibid.,

"bid.,

p. 385. Ibid., p. 17.

JUSTICE

have done nothing to deserve any punishment. Ibn Bgbnya argues that our ignorance of the reasons for which God takes away the lives of children should not cancel out what we know in general by clear proof: that God is wise and does not act unjustly. The argument reveals some delicacy of thought and a concern to acquit God of the charge of wrongdoing by admitting man's ignorance, instead of going in the direction of the Ash'arite thesis that God, as supreme Monarch, is free simply to do as He chooses, and whatever He does will be right simply because He chooses to do it. Justice and injustice, says Ibn BHbiiya, are not in the mere attraction or repulsion of nature, but in what reason says to be good and bad. However we should not judge an act to be evil if we have nothing but external appearance to rely upon. 2 Rather we should look at the agent. If we know by clear proof that the agent is good and wise, we know a priori that all of his acts will be so, even though it is not apparent in particular cases. If, for example, we see a father whom we know to be wise and just cutting off a limb of his son, we do not judge his act to be against his son's interests, because of what we know of the father's character. So it is with God. Our ignorance of particular details should not mislead us into judging an act of His to be unjust. We know from the order and harmony of the world that He is wise, and we know in general that He does no injustice because, being omniscient and perfectly selfsufficient, He has no motive to do it. Injustice is done by someone who is either ignorant of its evil or in need of an advantage which injustice may gain for him. So we know that the particular case under consideration cannot be injustice on God's part, even though we may be at a loss to explain it. In this argument Ibn BHbiiya shows both that he rejects a notion of God's arbitrary power making everything He chooses to do just, and also that he is not ashamed to say that man is unable to understand completely the reasons for some things that happen in the world.
1
2

Al-Mufid merely says in general, against the Ash'arite thesis, that God can do evil but does not.1

In his creed, Ibn BHbaya refers to a tradition from the Imam Mas5 which says there are four components of a human being's ability: freedom of movement, health of body, soundness of limb, and a cause (sabab) given to the man by God. Explaining the last component, Ibn BBbiiya quotes the Imam MBsH as saying that if a man is free to move, in good health, and possessing normal limbs, he is still unable to commit adultery unless he sees a woman. However, as soon as he sees her, he can sin or refrain from sinning. And so he is at that moment said to have ability. And whether he sins or not, in neither case is he acting under compulsion. 3 Al-Mufid disagrees and says that ability consists merely of health and soundness. He considers that the man in the example is able to commit adultery but prevented by the circumstance of having no partner present. This equating of ability with mere physical health is a doctrine of the Baghdad Mu'tazilites, who oppose the Basran notion that ability is an accident inhering in the agent. A possible reason for al-Mufid's preferring to reduce ability to the subject's state of health is that this makes ability clearly present before the act. Ibn BHbiiya's theory, which considers that a man is not "able" to act except in the presence of all the required conditions, exterior
Awci'il, p. 23. "Rislla," p. 72, F. 40. Elsewhere Ibn BHbGya reports a tradition of the Imam Ja'far which seems to deny the very notion of ability.Asked about ability,Ja'far replied: "Ability is not of my discourse nor of my fathers'." (al-Tawbid, pp. 344-45). Ibn BBbiiya explains that Ja'far meant to deny that God could be called mucta/i', as the questioners of Jesus presumed when they asked: "Is your Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven?" (Quran, 5:112). Ibn Blbiiya is admitting the notion of ability in man, but not in God. Power (qudra) is what God has. "Risfila", p. 72, F. 40. Ta,rbib, p. 24. Supra, pp. 167-69. The point of discussion here, however, is not quite the same, for Ibn Blbiiya's notion of ability is not that of the Basrans.
1

See AL-ASH'A~, "al-Luma'," p. 71, No. 170. Al-Tawbid, p. 395. Zbid., pp. 396-97.

as well as interior, bears a resemblance to the determinist doctrine that ability comes to a man only simultaneously with the act. This resemblance is only superficial, however, because Ibn BLbiiya makes it clear that once all the conditions constituting ability are present, the agent freely chooses to perform the act or refrain from it.' Still the Mu'tazilite polemic against determinism, which more strongly influenced al-Mufid, commonly cast the question in the form of whether ability is prior to the act or not.

CHAPTER X V

REVELATION

Ibn BLbiiya says that God commands justice from man but treats him with something better than justice: namely favor. He quotes the Prophet as saying that no man enters Paradise by his good actions alone, but by God's mercy. Al-Mufid agrees with this and takes the notion of God's favor a step further. He says that the basis of all man's rights is favor, since God took the initiative with favors toward His creatures and no one is ever able to thank Him adequately for them.3 Thus all man's rights are of God's granting, and favor is the basis of justice between God and man.'

Ibn BLbiiya's view on the problem of the uncreated Quran is given in his explanation of a tradition in which 'Ali, reproached by the Kharijites for making AbE MESS al-Ash'ari arbitrator in religion, replies: "By God, I did not make a creature arbitrator, but the Quran."l Ibn BLbfiya explains that the Quran is called God's word and God's inspiration (why), but it is not said to be created only because "created" can mean fictitious or fabricated (makdh8). Then he gives examples of this sense from the text of the Quran and concludes: So whoever claims that the Quran is created, meaning that it is fabricated, has disbelieved. And whoever says i t is not created, meaning that it is not fabricated, has spoken truly and rightly. And whoever says it is not created, meaning that it is not temporally produced (mubth), not sent down and not preserved, is mistaken and speaks neither rightly nor truly. Here Ibn BLbfiya is reconciling the tradition attributed to 'Ali with those relating that other Imams refused to say the Quran was either created or uncreated but called it the speech of God,3 and with a response of the Imam Ja'far that the Quran is rn~hdath.~ Then, to support the thesis of the temporal production of the Quran, Ibn BIbOya gives three arguments which also serve to indicate his view of the difference between the eternal and the produced, which

"RisHla," p. 72, F. 40. Ibid., pp. 86-87, F. 70-7 1. 8 Ta,@b, p. 48. 4 See subra, pp. 263-64, where al-Mufid is seen to hold, with the Baghdad Mu'tazilites, that the reward of the Garden is favor. T h e Basrans consider it to be justice.
1
2

Al-Tawbid, p. 225. Zbid. Zbid., pp. 223-24. Zbid., p. 227.

is a foundation of the kalim proof of the existence of God. In his first argument he says: We find the Quran divided into parts and joined, with each part different, one before the other, such as the abrogating which is after the abrogated. So if what is described thus were not begun in time, the demonstration of the temporality of the temporally produced would be ruined, and one could not assert the [existence of] their Producer by reason of their coming to an end, their separation, and their juncture. l The argument is that since the parts of the Quran arrive separately and then are joined, they have the accidents of juncture and separation, and so they are included in the proposition that what is joined and separate must be temporally produced. This is one of the premises in his proof for God's existence from the temporality of the world. A second argument assumes that a statement about a nonexistent person is false. Ibn Biibfiya says: Another thing: reason testifies and the Community is agreed that God is truthful in His revelations. And it is known that falsehood is reporting the existence of what is not. But God has told of Pharaoh and his saying, "I am your highest lord [Quran, 79:24]," and that Noah called to his son who was standing aside, "My son, embark with us, and be not with the unbelievers [Quran, 11:42]." But if this saying and the report are eternal, it was before Pharaoh and before his saying what was related of him. And this is falsehood. And if it existed only after Pharaoh said it, it is temporal, for it was after it had not been.= I t would not be difficult for a partisan of the uncreated Quran to answer this argument. Ibn BLbfiyays third argument is from the fact of abrogation and assumes that what has an ending must have had a beginning. He says: And another thing: God has said, "And if We wish, We take away what We have revealed to you [Quran, 17:86]." And He said, "We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten without
1

bringing a better or one like it [Quran, 2:106]." But what has a like or can be annihilated after existing must be temporally produced. The first and third of these arguments, then, presuppose the considerations discussed in the kalim proof God's existence from the temporality of the world. Al-Mufid also says that the Quran is produced in time, as Imamite traditions say. His proof of this, however, is from the nature of articulated speech, which must be produced in a succession of moments. Ibn Biibtiya also says that the Quran is complete and uncorrupted in the received text which is "between the two covers" of the book in the hands of the faithful. The only difference in Ibn Bgbfiya's view of the text is that he would combine Suras 93 and 94, and also Suras 105 and 106. Ibn BZbtiyays assertion in his creed that the whole of the Quran was sent down on the Night of Power to the House Inhabited ri is inconsistent with his argument in the Kitib al-tawhid that the Quran must be temporally produced because it was sent down in successive p a r k 6 Al-Mufid disputes the thesis that it was all sent down at once by pointing out that certain verses were revealed to fit new situations as they arose.' Here al-Mufid is in agreement with Ibn Biibtiya's doctrine expressed in the Kitib al-tawbid.

Ibn Biibtiya says that the prophets and Imams are superior to the angels,8 and that God created the world for the sake of Mubarnmad
1

Ibid.

Ibid., pp. 225-26. Ibid., p. 226.

Awi'il, pp. 18-19, cited sujra, p. 90. Ibid., p. 106, cited supra, p. 89. 4 "RisZila," p. 93, F. 85. For al-Mufid's views on the text of the Quran, see supra, pp. 92-99. "Risaa, p. 92, F. 83. Cf. Quran, 52:4. ' Al-Tawhid, pp. 225-26, cited supra, p. 354. Tqbih, pp. 57-58. 8 "Risiila," p. 95, F. 92.
a

REVELATION

and the Imams of liis house.' Making no distinctio~ibctween 'i~ma of the prophets, apostles, Imams, and angels, Ibn Biibiiya says they are preserved from defilement (danar) and great and small sins.a Al-Mufid's comment on this does not disagree, but he is careful to emphasize that protection from sin does not take away the freedom of the ones protected. Al-Mufid distinguishes protection from sin and prevention from sinning. 'Ifma also involves perfection of intellect and absence of deficiency in knowledge. Ibn BBbfiya says that the prophets and the Imams had this from the beginning of their careersY4and al-Mufid adds that they may have had these gifts in the time previous to their taking office, but he will not say so d e f i n i t e l ~ . ~ There is, however, a disagreement between Ibn BHbfiya and alMufid on the question whether the protection of 'i~maextends as far as immunity from distraction at prayer (sahw). The origin of the dispute is a tradition to which Ibn BHbiiya refers as coming from a Companion called Dhii 1-Yadain. According to it the Prophet overslept the time of the dawn prayer. At sunrise he got up and began, but then he became distracted and mistakenly said the salLm in two ~ a k ' a . ~ Ibn Biibiiya notes that some have rejected this tradition. He says that pious exaggerators (ghtrlit) have denied the Prophet's distraction (sahw) arguing that if he could be negligent in this matter, he could also have made mistakes in delivering revelation, for both are duties of his. Ibn BHbiiya replies that whereas prayer is a duty common to all men (and so, in common with the rest of men, the Prophet could suffer distraction in it), his prophetic office is special to him, and in it he has divine protection. There is, however, this difference in the former Ibid., p. 97, F. 95. Ibid., p. 99, F. 99-100. Tafhih, pp. 60-61 ; cf. Awi'il, p. 111; see aqm, p. 81. 4 L'Ri~Bla,y' 99, F. 100. p. 6 Tajhih, p. 62. 8 IBN BKBOYA, li yahdtlmhu l-faqih Man (Iran, lithograph, 1324 H.), p. 74. On Dhii I-Yadain see IBN SA'D,Kitib al-fabaqZ& al-kabir, ed. J. Sachau et al. (Leiden: Brill, 1904), 111, Part 1, 118.
1

duty: while other men's distractions in prayer come from Satan, the Prophet's distractions came from God, who sent them in order to remind him that he is not divine. Satan has no power over prophets and Imams. Opponents (the exaggerators) have argued that Dhfi 1-Yadain is an unknown person. Rather, replies Ibn BHbiiya, he is so well known that if a tradition on his authority is not valid, then no tradition at all is valid. Ibn BHbiiya adds that he himself will compose a book on the saltw of the Prophet, refuting its opponents.l From this it appears that some Shi'ites before or contemporaneous with Ibn Bzbiiya denied the authority of this tradition. They rejected it because it went against their notion of the extent of the Prophet's divine protection from sin and error. Ibn BHbEya, who accepts the tradition, calls such people exaggerators. It naturally followed, in the view of Ibn BHbiiya and the school of Qumm to which he belonged, that if the Prophet could be distracted in prayer, the Imams could be distracted also. For this their Shi'ite opponents laid against them the charge of "falling short" (tag@), or failing to give the Prophet and the Imams their due. Ibn BBbiiya retorts with epithets of his own, accusing his opponents of giving the Prophet and the Imams more than their due. "The mark," he says, "of delegators, exaggerators, and their like is that they accuse the shaikhs and scholars of Qumm [using the alternate reading, which is confirmed by alMufid's use] of falling short." 2 Taking the position that Muhammad and the Imams of his family could not possibly have suffered distraction in prayer, al-Mufid replies to Ibn BHbiiya naming one of the latter's teachers as the source of his remark. He says: Man I yahduruhu Igaqih, pp. 74-75; also cited by AL-MAJLIS~, al-anwdr Z Bihtir (Tehran: lithograph, 1315 H.), VI, 297-299. Ibn BBbiiyaSstreatise on sahw is lost. The reference to a manuscript of it in the introduction of A. FYZEE, Shi'ite Creed, p. 14, A No. 7, is mistaken. The catalogue shows this to be manuscript of a refutation of it, possibly by al-Mufid. See AHLWARDT,171, NO. 1370; and supra, p. 41. 11, a rcRisiila," p. 101, F. 104.

We have heard a public report of Aba Ja'far Muhammad b. aluasan b. al-Walid - may God have mercy on him ! - and have found no one to refute it, on the subject of falling-short. He is reported to have said that the first step in exaggeration is to deny distraction of the Prophet and the Imam. If this account is true, then he is falling short, even though he be one of the shaikhs of Qumm. With this touch of irony, al-Mufid is repeating the charge that Ibn BHbiiya's school, the shaikhs of Qumm, were falling short of the respect due to the Prophet and the Imams.

CHAPTER XVI

MAN

In his creed at the beginning of the "Kitiib al-hidgya," Ibn Biibiiya distinguishes between faith and Islam. He says: Islam is profession of the double shahiida. I t is what insures life and property. Whoever says, "There is no God but God, and Mubarnmad is the apostle of God," has thereby rendered his life and property inviolable... Faith is profession with the tongue and belief in the heart and action with the limbs. I t increases with works and decreases with their omission. Every believer is a Muslim, and not every Muslim is a believer. I t is like the Kaaba and the Mosque. Whoever enters the Kaaba enters the Mosque, but not everyone who enters the Mosque enters the Kaaba. 1 This inclusion of works in the definition of faith is akin to the Mu'tazilite and Sunnite traditionalist concept, which insists on the works of obedience too. Islam is the external legal status to which all who pronounce the shahiida are entitled. This too does not contradict the Mu'tazilite and Sunnite traditionalist position. Ibn BBbiiya's view of the grave sinner's status is presumably to be found in a tradition he quotes from the Imam Ja'far. The tradition recounts a written response of Ja'far to a question about faith:
1 "Al-Hidlya," p. 10. Cf. IBNBXBOYA, Amili, p. 640: "Islam is profession of the double shahida. Faith is profession with the tongue and belief with the heart, and action with the Iimbs. There is no faith except thus." For the Sunnite view, see MCCARTHY, Theology o al-Ash'ari, pp. 244-45; The f LAOUST, Profession d foi dlIbn Balia, pp. 47-48. La e

1 Ta,rhib, pp. 65-66. On Muhammad b. al-Hasan b, al-Walid, see al-Najgshi, p. 297; Ibn Shahr%hfibl p. 1 1 1.

MAN

You have asked about faith. Faith is profession with the tongue and belief in the heart and action according to the fundamental obligations... And a man may be a Muslim before he is a believer; he is not a believer until he is a Muslim. So Islam is before faith, and it is a partner of fhith. So if a man commits one of the grave sins of disobedience or one of the small sins of disobedience which God has forbidden, he has gone out of faith and the name of faith has fallen from him, while the name of Islam is still upon him. If he repents and asks pardon, he returns to faith. And it [i.e., his disobedience] does not move him outside to non-Islam (kufr) and contumacy, which would make the shedding of his blood licit. But if he says of the permitted, "This is forbidden," and of the forbidden, "This is permitted," and makes thgt his religion, he thereby goes out of faith and Islam into non-Islam. And he is in the position of a man who has entered the Enclosure and then entered the Kaaba, did something [defiling] in the Kaaba, and he is expelled from the Kaaba and the Enclosure, his head is struck off, and he goes to the Fire.l This is to say that the area of faith is within that of Islam, as the Kaaba is within the Enclosure. A man who goes outside faith by failing in one of its three components does not thereby leave Islam. Al-Mufid also held that.Faith is within Islam and not coextensive with it,%but he did not include works in his definition of faith. He ,called a grave sinner neither simply a believer nor simply a sinner, but a ,'I sinful believer. And, far from being susceptible of increase and decrease,

yet repented will be brought into the Garden on the Day of Judgment by the intercession of the prophets, their heirs, and the believers. 1

Speaking of the joys of the Garden, Ibn B5bfiya says that thcrc will be various ranks among the blessed. One class, the highest, will not enjoy sensual delights. He says: Among them will be some who, in the company of the angels, will receive their favors in blessing and glorifying God and declaring His greatness. And there will be others who will find pleasure in different kinds of food and drink. AI-Mufid takes strong exception to this doctrine and emphatically asserts that there will be only one class of men in the Garden. He says: The thesis of him who says there will be in the Garden humans whose delight will consist in glorifying and blessing God, but not in eating and drinking, is a thesis that deviates from the religion of Islam. I t is borrowed from the doctrine of the Christians, who claim that the obedient in this world will in the Garden become angels, who do not eat, drink, or marry. God has declared this thesis false in His Book by inciting man's desires for food, drink, and marriage there. Then al-Mufid quotes verses of the Quran to support his point. It would seem that al-Mufid is right in his charge that an element of Christian belief influenced Ibn B5bfiyaYs creed.

'\J faith in his view is so intellectual a certitude that,


.

1be lost.

once had, it cannot

Both Ibn B5bGya and al-Mufid say that all believers will eventually enter the Garden, and that only polytheists and unbelievers will remain , in the Fire forever.6 Sinners among the People of Unity who have not '

4
6

Al-Tawbid, pp. 228-29. Awi'il, p. 15, cited supra, pp. 236-37. Ibid., p. 60, cited mpm, p. 237. Ibid., p. 58, cited *a, p. 240. Tqbib, p. 55; "Risiila," p. 90, F. 79-80; cf. 'Ilal al-shari'i', pp. 489-90, where

tf-

Ibn Biibtiya relates a tradition from the Imam Mubarnmad al-Biiq~r saying that the

Shi'a were made out of different matter from the enemies of the Imams. It is because of mutual contamination that sins sometimes are committed by the former and good actions are occasionally done by the latter. On Judgment Day God will purify each group, leaving only its true element. The point here is that the Shi'ite sinner will be rewarded, but the enemy of the Imams will get no reward even for his good deeds. The implication of this tradition for human freedom is not considered. * "RisHla," p. 85, F. 67-68. a Ibid., p. 90, F. 79-80. a Ta,cbib, p. 54.

Souls (nuf?u and urwBh), says Ibn BHbOya quoting a tradition of the Prophet, were the first beings created. God compelled them to affirm His Unity, and then He made the rest of creation. 1 He created them to be permanent, not to pass away. Souls are strangers on earth, imprisoned in bodies. Ibn BZbtiya reports a tradition from the Imam Ja'far saying that God instilled friendship among the souls in their existence in the world of shadows two thousand years before the creation of bodies, and he quotes a tradition from the Prophet that "The souls are like a collection of armed forces; those among them that are acquainted with one another are united, while those who are not are disunited." a Al-Mufid attacks Ibn BZbtiya for again relying on conjecture andpoorly established traditions in his doctrine of the soul. Against the thesis of pre-existence he argues : As for Abfi Ja'far's saying that souls are created two thousand years before bodies, that those who were [then] mutually acquainted are united, and those what were not are disunited, it is a tradition of one, a singular report. It also has an explanation other than the one supposed by him who has no insight into the truth of things: God created the angels two thousand years before men, and those of them who were mutually acquainted before men were created are united at the creation of men, and those who then had been unacquainted are disunited after the creation of men. The matter .__-I___ is not as the partisans of metempsychosis think it is. And doubt has entered the minds of the ignorant traditionists (al-harhwiyyn) among the Shi'a, so that they have imagined that active essences, subject to command and prohibition, were created in particles (dhalr) which were mutually acquainted, intelligent,
1 "RisHla," p. 75, F. 48-49. There seems to be platonic or neoplatonic influence here, for both philosophical systems held the pre-existence of souls. But they a l d denied that the souls were created, which is just what Ibn BZibiiya is emphasizing. a Zbid., p. 76, F, 50-51. This last tradition, about the souls arrayed, is found al-$&ib, Title LX, chap. ii. also in AL-BUKHARI, Ibn yazm, IV, 70, also quotes this tradition with Quran, 7:172 to show that the 1 souls of Adam's progeny were a 1 created together beforehand so that they could pledge fealty to God.

understanding, and speaking. God afterwards created bodies for them and put them into them. If that were so, we would have some knowledge of what we used to be, and when reminded of it would recall it. Our state would not be hidden from us. Don't you see that someone who grows up in one town and after a time moves to another does not lose knowledge of the first, and if it should slip away from him through his not thinking about it, he will remember it if reminded? Were that not so, a man could be born and raised in Baghdad, stay there twenty years, then move to another city, forget his having been in Baghdad, and not remember anything about it. Even though he were reminded of it and shown numerous tokens of his stay, abode, and upbringing, he would deny it. No intelligent person would hold this. And one who has no understanding of these matters should not go on blindly talking of them. And the explanation which Abii Ja'far has given of the meaning of spirit and soul is the very thesis of the partisans of metempsychosis - although he did not know it. Thus the wrong he did to himself and others was immense. l The doctrine that souIs once pre-existed independently of bodies is helpful to the partisans of metempsychosis, who could argue from it toward a theory of several incarnations in different bodies. But Ibn Bgbfiya himself maintained only one incarnation for each soul. And he expressly rejects the thesis of tankukh, because "It involves denial of the Garden and the Fire."e He is condemning here the doctrine that souls migrate from one body to another instead of leaving the world at death directly for the place of reward or punishment. Perhaps, however, there is a connection between this doctrine of the soul's pre-existence and the thesis of innate knowledge, which Ibn BZibfiya mentioned in his Kit56 kam5l ~ l - d i n . ~ In another place al-Mufid again takes up the tradition that souls were created two thousand years before bodies and says, first, that it
Ta,rbih, pp. 32-36; see also n. I , p. 33, which quotes the corresponding passage in "al-Sarawiyya." a "RisIla," p. 85, F. 65.
See supra, p. 318.

MAN

is a tradition of one and therefore unreliable. But, he continues, if one wishes to take it as genuine, it means only that God designed the souls in His mind (khalq taqdirfl I-'ilm) 1 then He actually created the bodies, , and then created souls for them. a The souls were present to Him in His mind, but they were never actually existing without bodies, and of course never capable of speech. 3 The interesting feature of this explanation is that al-Mufid is capable of using the notion of "creation by design" (khalq taydir) when it suits his purpose. This is the concept he had rejected as absurd when Ibn Blbfiya used it. In his care to avoid any semblance of tanaukh, al-Mufid even takes issue with Ibn Blbfiya's thesis that souls are made for permanence. He says : What he said about souls being permanent is unacceptable. It expressly contradicts the words of the Quran where God has said, "Every one thereon will vanish. There remains the face of your Lord possessed of might and honor [Quran, 55 :26-271." What he has so fancifully related is really the doctrine of many of the godless philosophers, who claimed that the soul is not touched by coming-to-be and corruption, and that it is permanent, whereas only composite bodies vanish and corrupt ; and some of the partisan of metempsychosis hold this too, claiming that souls forever repeat their forms and abodes (hay&kil), are not temporally produced, and do not perish. This is among the worst of errors and farthest from the truth. Even what is less shameful and injurious has been used by the enemies of 'Ali to slander the Shi'a and to link them to the Zindiqs. Had the one who proposed this known what it implies, he would not have expressed it. But our friends who depend on traditions are guileless people, far from shrewdness, and small of intellect. They pass over the surface of the traditions they hear without thinking about their foundation. They do not distinguish the true from the false, and they neither understand what' is being foisted Reading 'ilmihi for 'amalihi. "Al-Sarawiyya," p. 50. Ibid., p. 46. Ta~!tih, 11-12, quoted sujra, p. 343. pp.

upon tllc~tl wl~cn thcy acccpt thesc: traditions nor get to the meaning of what thcy repeat. 1 Al-Mufid's opinion is that the soul, instead of having permanence dependent upon God to keep it existing from one in itself, is consta~ltly moment to the next.2 Both Ibn Blbfiya and al-Mufid agree that thc soul is not corporeal. The doctrine of pre-existence of souls is based not only upon traditions but also upon an interpretation of the verse: "And when they Lord brought forth from the reins of the sons of Adam their progeny and made them testify of themselves [saying]: 'Am I not your Lord?' they said: 'Indeed, we testify' [Quran, 7:172]." Ibn Blbtiya says that this verse refers to God's taking a pledge of fealty from the prophets. Al-Mufid mentions the verse and admits that at first sight it seems to lend some support to metempsychosis. However, he says, it is a figurative expression meaning that God forces each of Adam's progeny, by weight of natural arguments which occur to him, to admit he has a Creator.
I

Ta,$zilr, pp. 36-38.


1

"Al-Sarawiyya," p. 51, quoted sukra, p. 224. "Al-Sarawiyya," p. 52; "Risila," p. 77, F. 53. Ibid., p. 97, F. 94. "Al-Sarawiyya," p. 48.

SUMMARY OF PART I1

Ibn BHbiiya was a traditionist. When he set out to explain a difficulty or answer a question, he preferred to quote a tradition rather than reason out an answer of his own. Even his creed, the "RisHlat al-ictiqHdHt," consists largely of traditions strung together. Nevertheless he did hold many of the same theses as the theologians, and when a tradition he was reporting seemed to contradict one of his theological views, on God's Unity or Justice for example, Ibn BHbtiya would interject his own interpretation of the tradition. Herein lies Ibn BHbtiya's major difference from his pupil, al-Mufid, who is a theologian as well as a traditionist. When a point can be proved both from revelation and an argument from reason, al-Mufid generally prefers to rely on the latter, quoting the tradition or quranic text as a supplementary argument. Most of the important theological doctrines held by Ibn BHbiiya and his pupil are the same. They agree that God is utterly unlike His creatures. Ibn BHbiiya, in fact, gives a proof for God's existence, while al-Mufid's extant writings contain only the elements of one. They agree that God's attributes of essence are not distinct from Himself, that God does not change His mind, and there will be no vision of God in the next life. In the problem of Justice, Ibn BBbiiya's later work, the Kitcib al-tawhid, does not differ fundamentally from al-Mufid's position. But this represents a change in Ibn Bgbiiya's thinking away from the determinist stance of his earlier works. They agree that the Quran is not eternal but is temporally produced. Both say that the Imams are God's representatives on earth and that their commands must be obeyed. Both deny that the Imams were

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUFiD

SUMMARY OF PART I1

entrusted with the task of creating the rest of the world, as some extreme Shi'ites had held. The prophets and Imams, both say, are protected from great and small sins and from mistakes in their legal decisions. All believers are Muslims, both say, but not all Muslims are believers. Both say that only unbelievers will be in the Fire forever, and that all believers will eventually be brought into the Garden. And they agree that the soul is generically different from matter. The differences that exist between the two generally show al-Mufid closer to Mu'tazjlite thinking and less ready to accept or interpret literally traditions which go against Mu'tazilite theses. Thus al-Mufid simply changes the wording of the traditional Shi'ite doctrine of bad2 to the appearance of a new judgment from God, not to God. For Ibn BHbfiya the world is composed of bodies and accidents, while al-Mufid's world is made up of bodies, atoms, and accidents. And al-Mufid strongly reproves Ibn BHbiiya for trying to maintain some sense in which God exercises a creative influence in man's acts. Al-Mufid's reduction of isti!i'a to a state of physical health, excluding from it the external conditions necessary for the act, reflects the Mu'tazilite concern to prove that ability exists before the act. Al-Mufid rejects Ibn BHbiiya's tradition that the entire Quran was sent down to the House Inhabited on the Night of Power, because it would nullify his arguments for the temporal production of the Quran. However these same arguments, which assert that the verses of the Quran were revealed to fit various contingent situations, were also used by Ibn BHbiiya in his Kit66 al-tawhid. Ibn BHbiiya's doctrine that souls were created before bodies depends upon an interpretation of the Quran and upon traditions which alMufid rejects. But al-Mufid's principal reason for rejecting the doctrine is that it opens the door to metempsychosis. On the other hand, Ibn BHbaya assigns slightly less stature to the prophets and the Imams in that he accepts the tradition which allows them to be distracted at prayer. Al-Mufid opposes him in this. In making works a constituent of faith, Ibn BHbEya happens to be closer to the Mu'tazilite view than al-Mufid is. But they both reject

the Mu'tazilite conclusion which would put grave sinners in the Fire forever. Finally, in his thesis that the joys of the highest of the blessed in the Garden will not be sensual, Ibn BHbiiya seems to have accepted a tradition based on beliefs foreign to Islam. Ibn BHbiiya, then, is a traditionist with many views that are akin to Mu'tazilite theses. Al-Mufid is a theologian as well as a traditionist, and his views, though basically similar to Ibn BZbfiya's, go further in a Mu'tazilite direction.

PART I11

CHAPTER XVII

AL-SHAR'IF AL-MURTADA

After considering al-Mufid's differences from his predecessor, Ibn BZbfiya, it seems appropriate to look briefly at the theology of al-Mufid's successor in the intellectual leadership of the Imamites, al-Sharif alMurtad8 Abfi 1-Q8sim 'Ali b. al-Husain al-MBsawi, also known as 'Alam al-Hud8 (3551967 - 43611044). 1 Since both al-Mufid and 'Abd al-Jabb8ra were among al-Murtad8's teachers, and since he was leader of the Imamites of Baghdad after al-Mufid, a rCsumC of his theology should help put in perspective al-Mufid's own place in the development of Imamite theology.

Al-Murtad8 begins his short creed, "Al-Usfil with a statement of man's first duty. He says:

al-iCtiq8diyya,"

Know that the first of the acts of the heart incumbent upon man is passage to knowledge of his Lord. And the only way [to it] is reasoning upon the temporal production of bodies and their like. Thus the starting point of all religious duty, for al-Murtad8, is the obligation to reason to knowledge of God. Tradition at the outset will not do. The only way to arrive at knowledge of God is by reason.
For his full name and all his titles, see BROCKELMANN, 1. I, 510-1 IBN AL-MURTA~K, al-Mu'tazila, p. 117. Tabaqcit 8 AL-MURTAPK, "al-U~iil al-i'tiqfidiyya," Nafci'is al-makh~zitcit, Muhammad ed. I;Iasan A1 Y%in, I1 (Baghdad: al-Ma'firif, 1954), p. 79.
1

In his Jumal al-'ilm wal-'amal, al-Murtadii says that ol~taining this knowledge of God is man's first obligation because all other duties are based upon it. Going on to explaiu the reasoning procctss wllicll is the only way to this knowledge, he says:
Reasoning (naqar) is thought (Jikr) as any of us knows necessarily by hirnself. And on this basis reasoning becomes obligatory only when he [begins to] fear [harm] from omitting and neglecting it. He fears harm either by having fear instilled in him by thc people among whom he grows up, or by beginning to think about some sign which makes him afraid not to reason, or by God's putting into his mind something that moves him to reason and makes him fear its neglect. And the most likely explanation of the suggestion [which God puts into his mind] is that it is a hidden speech which he hears [reading yasma'uhu instead of yusammihi], although he does not distinguish it [clearly]. And reasoning on the probative aspect of a cause generates knowledge, since the latter is produced in proportion to it. So knowledge is indirectly caused, like pain from a blow. All of these ideas can be found in the writings of 'Abd al-Jabb8.r. Al-Mufid's system is quite different. It has been seen that he holds that the beginning of moral obligation came with the revelation brought by an apostle from God. Thus revelation was necessary before man could begin to use his reason in fulfillment of religious duty. And even in the very operation of his rational faculty, man cannot get along without revelation. This is the major difference between al-Mufid and his pupil. AlMufid's use of reason is generally defensive: to show that there is no conflict between Imamite doctrine and reason. He is influenced of

course by the Mu'tazilites and judges them to be very often on the side of reason. But where he disagrees with them, as he does on the questions of the imamate, the status of the grave sinner, and the Threat, he endeavors to refute them by rational arguments of his own. Al-Murtadii, on the other hand, begins from the Mu'tazilite starting-point that man's first duty is to use his reason to arrive at knowledge of God. From there he aims to prove, by reason unaided by revelation, that God has certain attributes and has no motive to do injustice. Once this has been proved, God's revelation can be taken as truthful, and so revelation can be used as an argument along with reason. The demonstration of God's existence which al-MurtadP offers is the ordinary kalim proof from the temporality of the material world.1 In one place he faces the objection: "what do you say to one who, at the establishment of the proof of the temporal production of body, atom, and accident, postulates instead something which is neither body, atom, nor accident, from which God produces things?" From this and from further remarks in the development of the argument it appears that al-Murtadii is dealing with an Aristotelian o b j e c t i ~ nAl-Murtadii .~ replies from his own position as an atomist, denying the Aristotelian notion of substantial change. He says: Production of one thing from another thing is an obviously false thesis. For the truly produced exists after it was non-existent. So if we suppose it was produced from another, we have already made it to be existing in that other. So it is not really produced, not existent from real non-existence. This contradicts, he goes on to say, the proof which says accidents are produced from nothing. Here-al-Murtadl is referring to a premise of the kalim proof of God's existence. The real fault of the objection in al-MurtadH's eyes seems to be that it would nullify the kaliim proof.
"Ugfil," p. 79; Jumal, p. 29. AL-MURTAD~, "Masii'il," Ms. Tiibingen, Petermann, I, 40, fol. 32a. S Ibid., fol. 32b: "For the existent, according to you, is by act and potency; and the non-existent, according to you, is existent in potency or knowledge." And see ibid., fol. 33a, where what the objector postulates is called "eternal matter." Zbid., fol. 32a.
a

AL-MURTA~A, Jumal al-'ilm wal-'amal (Najaf: al-Adiib, 1387 H.), p. 36. See in general supra, chap. ii. On man's first duty to reason to knowledge of Sharb, p. 39. On reasoning being thought, see al-Mughni, God, see 'ABD AL-JABBAR, XII, 4. On the original impulse to speculation being fear of harm aroused by talk with others or by a direct suggestion of God to the individual, see Sharh, p. 68. For a sign being necessary to set one thinking, see al-Mughni, XII, 386. On the suggestion of God (k&/ir)bring a hidden speech in the mind of the person, see al-Mughni, XII, 77. Awi'il, pp. 1 1 - 12, quoted supra, p. 60.
1
2

Al-Murtad5 affirms that only what occupies space is existent,' and so he denies any notion of potential existence which matter might have. Hence it appears that although al-Murtad5 did not go deeply into the theory of Aristotelian philosophy or really meet it in his refutation, he does show an accurate knowledge of that theory not found in any other theologian of his age.

Power and knowledge are not, according to us, attributes. They are only called so by the SiJGtiyya, the partisans of al-Ash'ari. As for ourselves, we call the attribute and the state : His being powerful, knowing and the like, which power and knowledge nece~sitate.~ Besides espousing the doctrine of states, which al-Mufid had rejected, al-MurtadH follows another Basran thesis in his derivation of God's being Seer and Hearer from His being p e r ~ e i v i n g . ~ Baghdadi opinion, The which al-Mufid followed, had been that the attributes, Hearer, Seer, and perceiving, mean nothing more than God's knowledge. Another point on which al-MurtadZ holds a Basran position is God's will, which he sees as an attribute of act. He says: Also among His attributes - although they are from a cause are His being willing and hating (murid, kirih), because God has commanded, informed, and forbidden. Commanding and informing are commanding and informing only by a will-act. And prohibition is prohibition only by hating. He cannot deserve these two attributes by Himself, because that would necessitate His being willing and hating one and the same thing in one and the same respect. Nor can He deserve them by an eternal cause, for reasons which will appear in our refutation of eternal attributes. Nor can He deserve them by a temporally produced cause in something non-living, because of the will's need for a structure [reading li-fitq6r al-irrida ili binyatin instead of li-jitqirihi I-ircida i l i niyyatihi]. Nor by a cause existing in a living thing, because of the necessity of its [i.e., the will's] exercise belonging to that living thing. So nothing is left but for it [i.e., the will-act] to be existing not in a substrate. Ibid., fol. 20b-2 la. AL-MUF~D, p. 18; al-Fu$, pp. 279-80; supra, pp. 139-41. Aw$il, AL-MURTAP~, p. 29: "And He must be Seer and Hearer, since He must Jumal,

In keeping with his rational approach, al-MurtadZ has a long discussion of what names can be applied to God and what meaning they have when so applied. He does not limit himself to those names which are found in the Quran or tradition, as al-Mufid and the Baghdad Mu'tazilites did. On the metaphysical problem of how God has His attributes, alMurtadZ shows himself an adherent of the late Basran school. He faces this objection : Abii 'Ali al-JubbZ'i's thesis is that the Eternal's being Hearer and Seer is an additional attribute; and the Basrans also say that He has, in being willing (murid), an added attribute. I want "attribute" to be explained. Have they made it like power and knowledge, or something else? Al-MurtadZ replies by invoking the theory of states (a!lwril), which had been a doctrine of the Basran Mu'tazilites beginning with Abii 'Ali's son, Abii HPshim. He says: 'Attribute" is the saying of the attributer. As for the attribute by which He is said to be powerful or knowing or anything else, its meaning is the state in which the essence is, whether it belongs to the self or to the accident or to the agent.
1
9

a
8

Ibid.

AL-MURTAPA, "Majmii'a fi funiin min 'ilm al-kalgm," Nafi'is al-makhlCfit,V (1955)' 72-80; for example, on p. 80 he calls God fard and munfarid, which are not in Awd' the Quran. AL-MUF~D, il, pp. 19-20, quoted supra, pp. 151-52. 'ABD AL-JABBAR, al-Mughnf, Vy 195, defended the practice of giving names to God which fit Him and
are not expressly forbidden in revelation. 8 "MasH'il," fol. 20b.

perceive the perceptibles when they exist. This is the meaning of our saying 'Seer Sharb, and Hearer'." 'ABD AL-JABBAR, p. 168, had said that "perceiving" is a special attribute. See supra, pp. 144-47. AL-MUF~D, pp. 20-21, cited supra, p. 145. Awi'il, 6 Jumal, pp.. 29-30. If the text's niyyatihi is read instead of the suggested binyatin, then the translation is "because of the will's need for its previous intention," meaning that the nonliving subject of the will-act would need a previous will to put that into effect. However this does not seem so likely as the suggested reading because of the argument's close resemblance to 'Abd al-JabbHr's.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

The second half of this argument is elliptical and becomes more intelligible from a comparison with 'Abd al-Jabbiir's proof in al-Mughni. There 'Abd al-JabbHr says that God's will-act, which he has already shown to be temporal and not in God's essence, exists either in a subject or not in a subject. If it is in a subject, that subject is either living or not living. If the subject is not living, then it is either of special construction (binya) or not. But, he continues, God's will-act cannot exist in a living subject, for it would then be the act of the living subject, not of God. Nor can God's will-act exist in a non-living subject, even one which has a special structure, for nothing non-living, no matter what its structure, can have any effect on a will-act.2 Therefore, 'Abd al-JabbZr concludes, God must be willing by a temporal will-act which exists but is not in a ~ u b j e c t . ~ The single difference between this argument and al-MurtadH's is that al-MurtadH says simply that the will-act cannot exist in a nonliving subject because the will-act needs a structure. 'Abd al-Jabbk has gone a step deeper into the matter, arguing against the very possibility of a non-living subject, whatever its structure, supporting a will-act.4 This difference, however, is not basic, Both 'Abd al-JabbZr and al-Murtadl say God is willing by a temporal will-act which does not inhere in any subject. Al-Mufid, following the Baghdadis, heId that God's being called willing is derived from revelation, not from reason, and that His willing of His own acts is nothing more than those acts themselves, while His willing of others' acts is His commanding them.

Al-MurtadB ;\rid al-Mufid agree, against the tlctcrminists, that God has the power to do injustice but does not do it. And they agree that man products his own acts without God. I t has been secri that al-Mufid, with the Bagtldadis, identified God's will for others' acts with His command, whereas the Basrans .~ held that God's willing is distinct from His ~ o m r n a n d I n the Basran scheme the problem arose that if God's willing is a distinct act, then He either must not will all men to believe and obey Him, or He does so ineffectually. 'Abd al-Jabblr's reply is that God's will for men's acts is twofold. He says : He wills two kinds of object which lie within the power of others. The first kind He wills forcibly and constrainingly. When He constrains it, it must take place. And were it not to happen, an inadmissible conclusion about Him would logically follow. The second kind is what He wills from another by way of [the other's] choice and obedience. This is what He wills from people who are morally responsible (al-mukallafin). When this does not come about, i t does not necessarily indicate weakness or deficiency on His part.4 Since al-MurtadH follows the Basran notion of God's will, he too distinguishes a twofold aspect in God's will for the acts of men. He raises and answers this objection: If someone asks: "Do you say God wills faith from all creatures who are subject to command and prohibition, or does He will i t from some of them but not others ?" say to him : rather God wills i t from all creatures by a will of trial (balwi) and testing (ikhtibir) [or perhaps, reading ikhtiyzr, "choice"], but H e does not will i t with a will of forcing (ijbir) and coercion (idtirgr). AL-MURTA~A, pp. 31-32; AL-MUP~D, p. 23, cited supra, p. 155. Jumal, Awi'il, Jumal, p. 32; AwB'il, p. 25, cited supra, p. 162. 'h~ AL-JABBAR, p. 434, cited supra, p. 147-48. Sharb, Al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 257. 6 AL-MURTA~A, "InqHdh al-bashar min al-jabr wal-qadar," Ras~i'il al-Sharff al-MurtadG, ed. Ahmad al-uusain (Najaf: al-Adiib, 1386 H.), p. 106.

Al-Mughni, VI, Part 2, 140. Zbid., p. 154. Zbid., p. 159. 6 'Abd al-Jabbiir does, of course, admit that if a will-act exists in a living subject, it exists in that part of the subject which is structured for it: the heart, and not, for example, the hand. And so he says if a will-act does exist in a subject, it needs a structure. Zbid., pp. 155-56. 6 AwZ' l, p. 19, cited supra, p. 147. i
1

Using different terms, al-MurtadH is saying the same thing as 'Abd al-JabbHr. To justify God's imposition of moral obligation, al-MurtadH says that it gives a man a chance to gain a reward. He says: The aspect of good in imposing moral obligation is that it gives one a chance [to gain] a great benefit which would otherwise be unattainable. And giving a chance for something is in the same category as conferring the thing. The benefit to which we allude is the reward, if it is given for deserts. And it is deserved only for obedience. And it is good [reading yakunu instead of li-husni] to impose moral obligation upon one who God knows will not believe, because the aspect of good, namely the chance for reward, is still there. 1 This agrees with what 'Abd al-JabbHr says in defense of God's imposing moral obligation even upon the person He knows will not believe.2 Al-Mufid, following the Baghdadis, justifies imposing moral obligation on such a man by the good it may do for another managThe root of this difference lies in the disagreement between the Basrans and the Baghdadis whether God must act for man's best interests in all matters. Al-Mufid holds, with the Baghdadis, that God must look to the best interests of men both in matters of religion and this world.4 To avoid the difficulty of having God obliged always to prolong the life of a sinner so as to give him another chance to repent, alMufid limits the application of this thesis and says God must give unbelievers one chance to repent. If they take this and then relapse, God is no longer held by His rule of best interests to keep prolonging their lives. 'Abd al-JabbHr, with the other Basrans, said that God is bound to look after a man's best interests in matters of religion, but not in matters of this world. And 'Abd al-Jabb5r limits the application of the rule even in religious matters. "Best interests in matters of religion,"
1

il

hc says, "simply means that whcn God morally obliges men to perform certain act, thitt act is in their bcst intcrcsts." According to this view, God is not bound to prolong the lifc of a sinner He knows would repent if given lnorc timc, for that is an alpair of this world, not of religion. Al-MurtadH shows himself on the Basran side here too. He says:
[Acting for man's] best interests in what has to do with this world is not incumbent on God. If it were, it would lead to endless obligation, and the Eternal would never for a moment be free of obligation. a

The reference here is to God's hypothetical obligation to keep an unbeliever alive until he repents. Al-Murtadii holds, with the Basran Mu'tazilites, that God is obliged to give a man any specific help (lujf) which he knows will induce him to choose obedience and avoid sin.a And this obligation is upon God's justice. As al-MurtadH says, "There is no difference in obligation between the help man needs (lug) and enabling man to act (tamkin). Refusing the one is fully as bad as refusing the ~ t h e r . " In other words, ~ just as God would be unfair if He denied man the power to perform his own acts, so He would also be unfair if He denied him help to choose rightly. Al-Mufid denies that God is bound in justice to give help. He is bound, says al-Mufid, only in His genero~ity.~ Al-MurtadH's view of man is that he is the living, visible composite of limbs and members. Arguing from experience of the human body as perceiver and agent, he says: The living one, the one under moral obligation, is this composite which is seen. For perception occurs in each of its members, and action arises in its limbs. The heavy is light for it when it is borne with both hands and difficult when borne with one.6
--

a
3 4

Junual, pp. 32-33. Sharh, p. 5 18, cited supra, p. 7 3 , n. 1. Awi'il, p. 26, cited supra, p. 73. Zbid., pp. 25-26, cited supra, p. 71 Zbid., p. 90, cited supra, p. 74.

Al-Mughni, XIII, 212. Jumal, p. 34.


Zbid., p. 33. For the Basran position, see p. 34. AwJ'il, p. 26, cited supra, p. 77. Jumal, p. 33.

stcpra, p. 77.

Jumal,

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAMH

AL-MUF'ID

This agrees with the common Mu'tazilite opinion l and opposes al-Mufid's view that man is essentially spirit.

Al-Murtadii's doctrine on pain and compensation is largely similar to 'Abd al-JabbZr's. Pain, he says, is good if it is neither unjust nor purposeless. He defines injustice as "what neither entails a greater benefit nor prevents greater harm, and is not de~erved."~ God may give pain in this world both to those who are under moral obligation and to those who are not.4 Pain's value as a lesson (i'tibir) prevents its being vain, and the compensation which God must give prevents its being unjust. When one man causes pain to another as a necessary means to protect him from some greater harm, he owes the one afflicted no compensation. The case is different with God, though, since God has at His disposal other means of warding off harm, some of them painless. Hence if ~e chooses to do it in a way that causes pain, He owes compensation.
'ABD AL-JABBAR, al-Mughni, XI, 31 1, cited mpra, p. 228. "Al-Sarawiyya," p. 51, cited supra, p. 223. a AL-MURTAQA, "MasZi'il," fol. 37b. Cf. 'ABD AL-JABBAR'S definition, al-Mughni, XIII, 298: "Injustice is anything harmful which does not, or is not thought to, entail a greater advantage or prevent greater harm, and is not deserved or thought to be deserved." On this whole subject, see supra, pp. 181-86. Jumal, p. 34. See also 'ABD AL-JABBAR, al-Mughni, XIII, 382. Jumal, p. 34: "God may give pain to adults, infants, and beasts. The good of it in this world is that it involves a lesson, which keeps it from being useless, or compensation, which keeps it from being unjust. As for what is done in the next world, it is good only from being deserved. "[Inflicting] pain simply for the sake of [later giving] com~ensationcannot be good. For it would [logically] lead one to maintain that it is good to wound another with a blow for no other purpose than to give him a benefit which compensates for it, and that it is good to employ someone to transport water from one river to another with no other aim in mind than giving him compensation." For 'ABD AL-JABBAR'S doctrine see Sharh, p. 485, cited supra, p. 182. 6 Jumal, p. 34: "God cannot give pain to someone in order to ward off harm, as one of us might do to another, without owing him compensation. The reason is that pain for the sake of warding off harm is good only when the harm can be prevented

Compensation is "deserved benefit which involves no honor and praise."l The aim of this definition is to distinguish compensation from reward, which is deserved benefit accompanied by honor and praise. Reward is eternal and will be given in the Garden. By compensation God pays here and now what He owes in justice to certain creatures who will never attain the reward of the Garden. Compensation, then, is limited in duration. Furthermore if a man exposes an infant to the cold, the man who exposed the infant, not God who made the cold, owes compensation. Al-Murtad5 differs from 'Abd al-Jabbiir in saying that vengeance (intip$) which a man is entitled to take against the one who has injured him is greater in amount than the injury. He says: I t is proper that when one of us has unjustly pained another, he [i.e., the aggressor] is liable for recompense to an amount which its being done to himself would not deserve. The reason for this is: were he not liable for it, it would be impossible to have vengeance upon him, despite the fact that vengeance is necessary. This is opposed to what Abfi Hiishim said. He allowed that nothing [supplying li] should be due from one who had not yet departed this world except what he deserve^.^
in no other way. But the Eternal One has in His power other means of warding off harm from a morally responsible person without giving him pain." He differs on this point from 'Abd al-JabbHr, who holds that it would be unbecoming for God to inflict pain with the sole purpose of warding off harm, even though He were to give compensation afterwards. See supra, p. 182. Jumal, p. 34. See 'ABDAL-JABBAR, Sharh, p. 494, for the same definition. 2 Jumal, pp. 34-35. 'ABD AL-JABBAR says the same in Sharh, p. 494, and al-Mughni, XIII, 508. Jumal, p. 35. The text seems corrupt. I t should read: "As for an act of pain by God's command [this part of the sentence may be incomplete], the compensation [reading fal-'iwad instead of wal-'iwad] is up to another because of his exposing it [reading ta'rid instead of ta'wid as when someone exposes an infant to extreme cold, not [reading ghair instead of 'ali] the maker of the pain. So the pain becomes as it were the act of the exposer [reading mu'arrid for mu'awwid]." Cf. 'ABD AL-JABBAR, al-Mughni, XIII, 450: "Know that whenever pain is produced by God on the occasion of the act of a servant, the production being obliged by custom or something else, the servant, not God, is responsible for its compensation." Jumal, p. 35.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUP~D

'Abd al-Jabblr, probably following A b l Hlshim, distinguishes compensation which is owed by God from vengeance that is exacted among men. The former should exceed the original pain, so that intellieent men would judge the pain worth enduring. The latter should only " equal the original pain1 The few relatively unimportant points in which al-Mufid's doctrine on compensation was seen to differ from 'Abd al-JabbZr's2 are not touched on by al-Murtadi in the writings of his which have been examined here.

By a parallel argument al-Murtadl says that the necessity of the imamate can be proved from reason. He says: The way to prove its necessity is reason, contrary to the doctrine of the Mu'tazilites and their like. I t is necessary only for bringing those who are under moral obligation close to what is for their interests and for keeping them far from what is harmful.' He extends this to the necessity of having an Imam at all times. 'Abd al-Jabbt holds that the Imamate is not known to be obligatory from reason, but only from revelation.. Al-Mufid's rational proof for the necessity of having an Imam comes after his arguments from the Quran, tradition, and consensus. He says an Imam is necessary for determining precisely what the Law obliges. The prophets and Imams, says al-MurtadL, do not commit grave or light sins either before or after being called to the office of prophet or Imam. Towards the Mu'tazilite position al-Murtad5 is conciliatory, tracing the difference between them to the related doctrine of cancellation. He says:

At-Murtadl holds that God was obliged to send a prophet because He knew that certain actions, if done, would help or hinder man's fulfillment of the duties to which he is morally obliged. Man knows by mason that he has certain moral obligations, but he cannot discern by unaided reason which actions will help or hinder him to meet these obligations. God's sending a prophet is a help ( l u ! . ) which He must give man.a This argument is the same as that which 'Abd al-Jabbgr uses.* Al-Mufid, on the other hand, holds revelation to be necessary for man to enable him to realize he is under moral obligation in the first place.
1
2

AL-Mughni, XIII, 506-07. See supra, pp. 183-86.

a "Majmfi'a," p. 64: "It is not impossible that God knows there are among the acts of the morally obliged some whose performance would lead him to choose to do rational duties and avoid rational evils; and among them others whose performance will lead him to choose to do evil and omit his duty. And when God knows that, He must notify the morally obliged person of it, so that be may do what will call him to do his duty and avoid what will call him to do evil. Informing him of this belongs to the sphere of removing hindrances in moral obligation. And since there is no rational way for a man to distinguish what will move him to actions or turn him away, and since it would not be good for God to give him innate knowledge about it, He must send someone to teach him this. And solely for this reason we say that since it is good for God to send [him], He must; and that obligation is not distinct from the good [where God is concerned]." 4 Shark, pp. 563-64. 6 AwZ'il, pp. 11-12, cited supra, p. 60.

Know that the difference between us and the Mu'tadlites, they allowing the possibility of small sins to the prophets, almost falh to nothing upon examination. For they allow only such faults as do not make one deserve punishment and which entail only loss of reward, because of their difference in that matter. Abfi 'Ali al-Jubbl'i says: 'The punishment of a small sin falls to nothing without an accounting." So it is as if they admit that nothing occurs from them [i.e., the prophets] for which they deserve blame and punishment. And this agrees in meaning with the Shi'L. For the Shi'a deny all disobedience of the prophets simply on the grounds that all disobedience makes its doer deserve blame and punishment. For according to them the [doctrine of] cancellation is false. And if [the doctrine of] cancellation is false, there is no disobedience whose doer
"UV","~.81. For an outline of al-MurtaC's rational argument for the imamate, see A B JA'FAR MUHAMMAD ~ B. AL-HASAN AL-T~sG Talkhi? al-Shifi (2nd ed.; Najaf: al-AdHb, 1963), I, 69-70. Al-Mughni, XX, Part 1, 17 ff. See supra, pp. 121-22. Al-Ifsib, p. 4, cited supra, p. 121. AL-MURTAD~, al-anbiyi' (2nd ed., Najaf: al-Haidariyya, 1961), p. 3. Tantih

does not deserve blame and punishment. But since incurring blame and punishment i.s to be denied of the prophets, one must deny all sins of them. Thus the difference between the Shi'a and the Mu'tazila becomes dependent upon [the doctrine of] cancellation. If cancellation is false, there would necessarily be agreement that no disobedience is done by the prophets, because it would make them worthy of blame. The problem is here being made to bear upon the Mu'tazilite doctrine that a man's small sins do not involve punishment but instead are cancelled out by the good he does, whereas a grave sin cancels out all the man's good deeds. Because of his position on the Promise and the Threat, to be examined below, al-MurtadH is against the Mu'tazilites on this point. If, however, there is a certain plausibility to his minimizing the differences between himself and the Mu'tazilites on the Prophet's 'isma, the same does not hold for the 'i~rna of the Imams. The Mu'tazilites, of course, denied that the Imams were protected from sin. Al-Mufid made a distinction between the sort of small sins which bring discredit upon their agent and those small sins which do not. He denied that Muhammad committed either kind, but he allowed that the other prophets might commit the latter before the time of their missions.3 Al-MurtadH did not exactly disagree with this, but he approached the problem in a different way. He mentioned a doctrine which he ascribed to al-NazzHm and Ja'far b. Mubashshjr, that the sins of the prophets happen from inadvertence and inattention (sahw, ghaja). Inadvertence, he replies, takes the agent out of the state of moral re~ponsjbility.~ And al-MurtadH does not mention in his Tanzih alanbiya" the tradition about Muhammad's distraction in prayer, which al-Mufid had challenged.
1

Making war against the Imams, al-Murtadii says, is just as truly unbelief as is making war on the Prophet. The official text of the Quran which is in the hands of the faithful is genuine, complete, and unchanged. Al-MurtadH supports this thesis by arguing from the care which the first generation took in collecting the text. He mentions Ibn Mas'iid and Ubaiy b. Ka'b as memorizers, but he does not mention a special text collected by 'AII, as al-Mufid had. a The miraculous character of the Quran, says al-MurtadH, is proved by the fact that the Meccans, though challenged, did not match it. This, he says, may have been due either to the Quran's own matchless eloquence, or because God prevented the Meccans from rivaling it. In either case, he says, the Quran proves Muhammad's claim to be a p r ~ p h e t Al-Mufid also had held both positions on the reason for the .~ QuranJs miraculous character. 'Abd al-Jabblr had said that the reason was the Quran's own eloquence.

Not only on the question of the imamate, but also in the problem of the status and destination of the grave sinner, al-Murtadii is squarely opposed to the Mu'tazilites. "There is no proof from reason," he says, "for the eternity of reward and punishment. The source for [knowing] "U~iil,"p. 81. For al-Mufid's similar view, see supra, pp. 248-50. "Majmfi'a," p. 69. For al-Mufid's views on the official text of the Quran, see supra, pp. 92-99. "Majmii'a," p. 68. In the Jumal, p. 41, al-Murtadg mentions that he has written a Kitcib al-jarf (sic). But it does not appear from the Jumal that jarfa was his only explanation. He says: "Either the Quran is an act of God by way of showing his [i.e., Muhammad's] veracity, and thus it is a miraculous sign, or God prevented people from matching it and so the prevention is the sign proving prophecy. We have explained and expounded the truth of that in the Kitcib al-jut$'' J. Bouman, p. 23, states that al-MurtadP says the Quran is not notably different, in short excerpts, from the best of human compositions. But the passages Bouman refers to (Ms. Berlin, Petermann, 40, fol. 4b) does not seem to have been written by al-Murtadii. * AwZ'il, p. 31 ; "al-'Ukbariyya," p. 34; supra, pp. 85-89. "AMughni, XVI, 3 18.
a

*
a
4 6

Zbid., pp. 3-4.

See supra, pp. 256-58, for a discussion of this. Am-'il, pp. 29-30, cited supra, p. 101. Tanzfh, p. 10. For al-Mufid's difference from Ibn BLbfiya about this, see supra, pp. 355-58.

this is revelation aIone." 1 God is free to rc-mit pu~iisllrncnljust ;is creditor is free to remit a debt. Only unbelievers will be in hell forever. Al-Murtadii says:

i~

Since [the doctrine of] cancellation is false, whoever is interiorly a believer will die in the faith. Otherwise it would lead to the impossibility of his being given the reward to which he has a right. l This is the same doctrine that al-Mufid held. The consequence of a denial of the Mu'tazilite doctrine of cancellation is that a grave sinner remains a believer. Al-MurtadB says: He who combines faith with grave sins (jsq) is called [reading yusammd instead of tusammi] a believer for his faith and faiq for his grave sins, because the literal derivation of the words necessitates that. And [even] if the word "believer" were taken to mean worthiness of reward and commendation, as is claimed, he would [still] have to be called by it [reading la-wajaba instead of yajib], for we hold that he is worthy of reward and commendation despite his deserving punishment. Al-Mufid held the same doctrine.

The punishment of infidels is certain, by r~nivcrsalconsensus. Tllc punishment of grave sinners among the People of Prayer is not certain, for reason allows their being pardoned, and there is no conclusive revelation that they will be punished. Believers who are sinners will in fact eventually be pardoned. AlMurtadii says : He who deserves a reward is always given it. He who deserves both reward and punishment and presents himself at the courtyard of the Resurrection will inevitably be pardoned by God, either immediately, or the Prophet will intercede for him - since he has [the power of] intercession, which is indeed for cessation of harm. H e does not intercede for the increase of benefit, as the Mu'tazilites hold, for that would [logically] lead to there being intercessors for the Prophet himself. .. And if he [i.e., the sinner] is deprived of that (God forbid!), he is given the punishment he deserves and is brought back to eternal reward, contrary to the doctrine of the Mu'tazilites, who hold [the thesis of] ~ a n c e l l a t i o n . ~ Al-Murtadii does not mention here .or in his Jumal al-'ilm wal'amal the intercessory office of the Imams, but only of the prophek4 His argument is pointed against the Mu'tazilites' denial that any intercessor can prevail upon God to forgive grave sins.5 Contrary to the Mu'tazilite doctrine, al-Murtadii holds that a grave sin does not cancel out the reward a believer deserves for his obedience. All good acts must be rewarded, and so once a man has really become a believer, he is sure to die in that state. He says:
Jumal, p. 37. Ibid., p. 38. "U~fil," 81-82. pp. Jumal, p. 39, is where it should logically come up. For the Mu'tazilite view, see 'ABDAL-JABBAR, Sharb, pp. 688-89, and supra,

O n the believer's duty to enforce the Law, al-Murtadii says: Commanding the good is div'ided into the obligatory and the recommended. [Commanding] what is obligatory is obligatory. What is recommended is to be recommended. Forbidding the bad is all obligatory, but conditionally. For the bad is not divided the same way as the good. Nor is there any rational proof of its obligation, except in the case of warding off harm. The source of its obligation is strictly revelation. The conditions for forbidding the bad are: that it be known to be bad, that there be a possibility of forbidding it effectively, and that there be no fear for life or anything of that sort, and that there be no evil consequences in forbidding it.5 The doctrine of Aha Hiishim and 'Abd al-Jabbiir is essentially the same as this. Abii 'Ali differed only in maintaining that the duty

1
2

8 4

pp. 255-56.

Jumal, Awi'il, Jumal, Awi'il, Jumal,

p. 39. p. 58, cited supra, p. 240. p. 39. p. 60, cited supra, p. 237. p. 39.

TIIE THEOLOOY OF AL-IHAIKH

AL-MURID

of forbidding the bad is known by reason. 1 Al-Mufid held that commanding and forbidding by word was a community not individual, obligation, and that enforcement was a matter for the ~ u l t a n . ~ Like al-Mufid, al-Murtadi justifies the occultation of the Hidden Imam by the danger to his life which has existed and still exists. "There is nothing impossible," he says, "in the prolongation of the Hidden One's lifespan beyond the ordinary, for the ordinary course may be violated by the Imams."3 Al-Murtadi does not, however, mention that the Imams themselves performed any miracles in the writings of his that have been examined here.

Do the people in the next life choose their own acts? Both al-Murtad2 and al-Mufid say they do. 1 Al-MurtadH, however, while rejecting Abfi 1-Hudhail's opinion that these people are forced (mudtarr) in their actions, nevertheless says they are constrained (yulja'u'n) to avoid evil. This seems to contradict what he had just said, so he raises and answers this objection : If you say they are constrained not to do evil, the thesis that they are in some sense choosers of their acts is blunted. We say: they are only constrained not to do evil. The constraint is exclusively in the area of what they do not do. As for what they do, they are choosers, for they prefer one act to another and change from one state to another, provided that there is no evil in their acts. I t is not impossible to be constrained in one respect and choosing in another, for a man whom a wild beast constrains to leave his place chooses between different possible directions and roads. The choice is certain, even though it is constrained in some respect. Nor does it follow that they [i.e., the people in the Garden] suffer grief of sadness at being constrained not to do evil. For they have no need of it because of [their perfect] well-being. So there is no grief or sadness in their being constrained to keep from evil.8 This distinction between constraint in not doing one act and choice in doing another, as well as the explanation of constraint as a partially voluntary resort to a lesser evil which, though incompatible with the state of moral obligation (taklif) is yet an act of choice, is found in alMughni, where 'Abd al-Jabbir is explaining Abii Hiishim's notion of iljciy. *
1

Of the events after death, al-MurtadH says briefly: "One must believe in the punishment of the grave, the passing of the world, and the return for the reckoning, the Scales, the Path, and the Garden and the Fire." Al-Murtada holds that moral obligation ceases at death. The people in the Garden, he says, are not under obligation because that would trouble their happiness. The people in the Fire are not under moral obligation either, and in support of this al-Murtadi appeals to the consensus of the Community which, he says, makes no distinction in this regard between the people in the Garden and the Fire. Al-Mufid too says the people in the Garden are not under moral obligation, for taklif means obligation to what is burdensome to nature and whose performance involves difficulty. The people in the Fire, he says, are involved in pains and difficulties inestimably greater than mere moral obligation to certain acts.'
-

Ibid. ; AL-MURTA~A, "Ahkrim", p. 48. Ibid., p. 49. Ibid., pp, 48-49.

1
2

'ABDAL-JABBAR, Sharh, pp. 741-42. Awi'il, p. 98, quoted supra, p. 279. Jumal, p. 45. For al-Mufid's defense of the Occultation, see supra, pp. 127-31. "U$Cil," p. 82. AL-MURTA~A, "AhkHm ah1 al-lkhira," Rasl'il al-Sharif al-Murladi, p. 41. Ibid., pp. 41-42. Awi'il, p. 67; see si$ra, pp. 68-69.

Al-Mughnl; XI, 397-98. 'Abd al-Jabblr, however, distinguishes here two kinds of constraint, one of which can in certain cases be overcome by hope of a very great reward, while the other cannot. The example of the latter is the situation of the people in the Garden, who are constrained from desiring to do evil by their knowledge that even were they to desire it, God would prevent them from doing it. These people are nonetheless choosers of the acts they do. And an exampIe of the former would be flight from a wild beast. A courageous man might be induced by a promise of a great reward to stand his ground.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

Al-Mufid, on the other hand, vigorously denies that the people in the next life are constrained from doing evil. In this he says he is in agreement with the Baghdadis against al-JubbZ'i and his son. l AlMufid goes on to argue that the people in the Fire in fact do evil. They lament: "0 that we might return! Then we would not deny the revelations of our Lord, but we would be of the believers!" This, God says, is a lie. Al-Mufid says he is agreeing here with the Baghdadis against the Basrans.

-4brogation in the Law does not necessarily involve change of mind (badi') as the Jews claimed, for bad&' entails three conditions: [I] that the deed commanded be identically the one that is forbidden, [2] that the formality and the time be the same, and [3] that the person upon whom moral obligation is imposed be one and the same. When these conditions are all met, bada" is indicated. But abrogation is different from that, for the act commanded is other than the one forbidden. The keeping of the Sabbath commanded in the days of MiisZ is other than what its prohibition in the days of our Prophet encompassed. And since the two acts are different, the necessary conditions for bad2 have not been fulfilled. 1 This represents the last step in the evolution of a notion long associated with Imamite thought. Al-Mufid and Ibn BHbfiya before him had felt it necessary to defend the word badi', even though they explained away its original meaning. Al-Murtada in his second solution simply disavows the idea and the word as well.

Al-MurtadZ gives two quite different solutions to the problem of bada". Arguing against the Mu'tazilites in his al-Shifi .fil-im&ma, he says:

As for bada", the thesis of HishZm [b. al-Hakam] and most of the Shi'a is the same as the Mu'tazilite doctrine on abrogation. They differed only ih naming it badi', because of traditions they have related.
This is the same answer as al-Mufid had given, broadening the definition of the word to make it ' a harmless expression for abrogation, which all Muslims accepted. ti In another place, however, al-MurtadZ is defending the very notion of abrogation against the Jews. The Jewish objection is that abrogation of the Law means that God has changed His mind. In answering this, al-Murtada gives a very strict definition of bad2 which distinguishes it entirely from abrogation. According to this definition, bad2 would mean a real change of mind on God's part, whose possibility he implicitly denies. He says:
1

The enumeration of differences between al-Mufid and al-MurtadZ which has been made in this chapter should not be allowed to obscure their basic agreement. Both are followers of Mu'tazilite thought on questions of God's Unity and Justice, and both flatly oppose the Mu'tazilites on the questions of the imamate and the grave sinner's status in this life and destination in the next. An examination of the differences between the two theologians on many details of God's Unity and Justice shows each agreeing with a different Mu'tazilite school: al-Mufid with the Baghdadis and alMurtadZ with the Basrans. Their most important disagreement has to do with the place of reason. Al-Mufid uses it only to defend traditional "MajmBca," pp. 82-83. a An unfriendly critic of kalim, Qutb al-Din Abii I-Husain Sa'id b. Hibat AllHh al-RHwandi (d. 58311177), counted ninety-five points of difference between al-Mufid and al-Murtadl and claimed that if he had wished to make his book longer, he could have named many more. See IQB~L,77. p.
1

a
8
4 6

Awi'il, p. 67. Quran, 6:27-28. Awi'il, pp. 68-69. AL-MURTA, al-Shrifi fi I-imamam (Tehran, lithograph, 1301 H.), p. 13. Awi'il, pp. 53-54, quoted supra, pp. 336-37.

doctrines, while for al-MurtadH it is the necessary starting point for constructing theology. But by his insistence on the need for an infallible Imam in every age, and by his denial of the Mu'tazilite doctrines of the middle position of the sinner and of the Threat, al-MurtadH remains solidly in the Imamite camp.

CONCLUSION

Within his own community, al-Mufid was heir to a double legacy: that of the early Imamite theologians - notably the Nawbakhtis who were in contact with Mu'tazilite thought from the latter part of the third century of the Hijra, and the traditionist school of Qumm represented by Ibn BZbfiya al-Qummi. As for the Nawbakhtis, they had in several respects moved closer to Mu'tazilism than al-Mufid or any later Imamite theologian would. 1 But the main Mu'tazilite influence upon al-Mufid seems to have come not from the Nawbakhtis but directly from his own study of the writings of Aba I-Qlsim al-Balkhi, the formative theologian of the Baghdad school. Al-Mufid's own synthesis of Baghdadi Mu'tazilite ideas and traditional Imamite thought embraced both the method and content of his theology. Against Ibn Blbfiya's traditionism, al-Mufid upheld theology's right to use rational arguments in defence of the teachings of the Prophet and the Imams. Although al-Mufid rejected the validity of belief based upon mere passive acceptance of authority, he agreed ivith Ibn Bgbaya that revelation is absolutely necessary for arriving at knowledge of God and the basic moral principles. It was left to al-Mufid's successor, alMurtadl, further to enhance reason's role to the status it enjoyed with the Mu'tazilites as the necessary and sufficient means of establishing the basic tenets of religion. Thus in regard to theological method, alMufid holds a position between the Imamite traditionists and the full Mu'tazilite stance adopted by al-Murtadl.
- -~

See supra, p 24. .

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

With regard to the content of theology, al-Mufld agreed with Mu'tazilite views on God's Unity and Justice, but he held the doctrine of the Imamate to be of paramount importance. Hence even the grave sinner, so long as he acknowledges the rights of the Twelve Imams descended from the Prophet, is still a believer, and he will be saved from eternal punishment in the next life through the intercession of the Prophet and the Imams. I n this al-Mufid was rejecting the Mu'tazilite theses of the Middle Position and the Threat. The boundary line in theological content between Imamism and Mu'tazilism was to remain here where al-Mufid drew it. Yet within the area of Mu'tazilite influence, the brand of Mu'tazilism generally adopted in Imamite theology after al-Mufid would be that chosen by his successor, al-Murtadl. For al-Mufid and his successor took their inspiration from different schools of Mu'tazilite thought. Al-Mufid, with the Baghdadis, refused to apply to God attributes derived from reason, which are not found in revelation. Abii Hlshim's theory of states was rejected. God does not will in the same sense as man wills. God is bound by nobility and generosity, not by justice, to look after man's best interests. Al-Murtadl and the Basrans disagreed with all these theses. In general there are two important differences between the Baghdad and Basran schools of Mu'tazilism. The Baghdadis gave a lesser role to reason than the Basrans.did; and the Baghdadis saw man's relationship to God as based on favor rather than justice. Agreeing as he does with the Baghdadis, al-Mufid stands closer to the Imamite traditionists than does al-Murtadl. At the same time a movement in a different direction was taking place within Imamite thought. Eccentric exaggerations aside, the supernatural stature of the Imams seems to have been steadily growing during the fourth century. Thus while the Nawbakhtis had denied that the Imams worked miracles and that their bodies were transported to the Garden after death, al-Mufid affirmed both these theses. And whereas Ibn Blbiiya in common with the traditionist school of Qumm allowed the possibility of the Prophet - and a fortiori the Imams -

nlaking mistakcls tl~rougltdistraction durillg religious clutica, ill-Mufid cliided thcm for tlicir tninirnizi~lgand lack of' ~'cspcct. When the full iiislory of Ilnamitc tlicology comes L bc writtell, o
i t will bc a story of' growth in succcssivc dialogue ant1 contact with
;I

variety of voices from inside and outside the SJ~i'itecornmullity. For a brief moment in its development, Imamite kalim was strongly influenced by Baghdadi Mu'tazilite thought. That was during the few years when the leading Imamite thinker was Abii 'Abd AIlHh Mulpmmad b. Muhammad Ibn al-Nu'mln, al-Shaikh al-Mufid.

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L-a-IM

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MANUSCRIPTS

-,

A B RASHID ~ SA'ID B. MUHAMMAD AL-NIsABOR~, "al-MasZ'il El-khiliif bain al-Basriyin wal-BaghdHdiyin." Berlin : Glaser 12, Ahlwardt 5125. AL-MUF~D, a 'ABDALLAH MUHAMMADMUHAMMADAL-NU'MAN h B. B. AL-HARITHI, IBN AL-MU'ALLIM. following manuscripts are in The Najaf: Maktabat Ayat Allah al-Hakim al-'Zmma: "Ajwibat al-masHYilal-hHjibiyya." No. 436. This is the same as "al-MasH'il al-'ukbariyya. " "Ibf.21 al-shubha." No. 998. "Al-MasHYilal-'ukbariyya." No. 1087. "MunH?arat al-Shaikh al-Mufid ma' al-BHqillHni." No. 998. This is the same treatise as "IbtZ1 al-shubha."

"al-Nukaf f i muqaddimHt al-ustil." No. 364. "al-Nukaf fil-'aqH'id al-kaliimiyya. 1-imHmiyya." No. 998. This is t h e s a m e as the treatise published as a/-Nukat al-i'tiqidiyya. "al-Radd 'a15 man za'am a n n a I-nabi yashfi." No. 998.

DHC~LAL-MURTAD~, AL-SHAR~F L-Q~SIM~B. AL-HUSAIN, ABO 'AL MAJDAIN, 'ALAM AL-HUDA, "MasH'il ma' ajwibat al-Sharif alMurtadH." Berlin: Petermann I, 40, Ahlwardt 4977. SULAIM~N B. MUHAMMAD ~ M A AL-MU HALL^, "al-Burhiin al-rH'iq." B. A D Cairo: D g r al-Kutub, microfilm collection of Yemeni mss., No. 146.

INDEX
(Numbers in italics refer to the more important passages)

I.

PERSONS Abii 1-Husain al-Baqri: 199, 227, 300, 302, 303. Abii 1-Husain al-SHlihi: 198, 199. Abii IshHq b. 'Ayybh, 6. Abii Ja'far al-Khurblni: 29. Abii Jarfar al-Laithi, 30. Abii Ja'far al-Qummi: 30, 358. Abii 1-Jaish: 11. Abii JHriid: 38. Abii 1-Laith al-AwHni: 30, 64, 65. Abii Muhammad al-Nawbandajki, 30. Abii Muhammad al-'Umfmi: 16. Abii Miisii al-Ash'ari: 353. Abii Rashid al-NisHbiiri: 163, 190, 192-195,200,206,209, 21 1-213,215, 217, 220, 229. Abii THhir b. NIqir al-Dawla: 33. Abii THlib: 29, 102. Abii Ya'lii Hamza al-Hasani: 94. Abii YaClHMuhammad al-Jacfari: 41. Abii YHsir : 9. Adam: 135, 330, 347, 348, 362, 365. 'Adud al-Dawla: 9, 14. Agh~ Buzurg al-TihrHni: 26-40. Ahriman: 325. 'A'isha: 249, 302, 303. A1 Bahr al-'Uliim, Muhammad Sirdiq, 35. A1 YHsin, Muhammad wasan: 2, ll,26. 'Ali b. Abi Tglib: 10, 15, 22, 28, 32-34, 37, 38, 40, 50, 92, 93, 95, 99, 100,

'AbbHd b. SulaimHn: 86. 'Abd AllHh b. al-wasan: 100. 'Abd AllHh b. Saba': 114. 'Abd al-JabbHr : 6, and passim. 'Abd al-Rahim Muhammad 'Ali: 26. ~ b i 'Abd Alllh al-Baqri: 5, 6, 9, 32, i 40, 199. Abii 1-'AlH' b. THj al-Mulk: 39. Abii 'Ali 'Abd al-WahhHb al-Jubbi'i: 5, 6, 23, 32, 35, 40, 76, 91, 92, 136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 151, 152, 157, 158, 159, 163, 164, 171-173, 175177, 185, 193-197, 200, 203, 210212, 215, 218, 223, 228, 234, 266, 280, 300, 376, 385, 389, 392. Abii Bakr: 10, 17, 32, 33. Abii Bakr b. al-DaqqHq: 16. Abii 1-Faraj b. IshBq: 29. Abii PHmid al-IsfarHyini: 18-20, 79 Abii Hanifa: 34, 38, 39, 60, 303. Abii 1-Hasan al-Hiqni: 30. Abii 1-Hasan Sib! al-MuCHf5:30. Abii HHshim 'Abd al-SalHm al-JubbH'i: 5, 6, 54, 92, 119, 136-142, 152, 157159, 164, 171-173,175, 185, 186, 190, 193-196,200,206, 209-2 12,215,220223, 228, 229, 234, 253, 259, 261, 265, 266, 275, 276, 280, 300, 303, 328, 376, 383, 384, 389,391,392,396. Abii 1-Hudhail: 71, 79, 137, 164, 175, 196, 197, 203, 207, 210, 222, 234, 256, 391. Abii 1-Husain al-Asadi: 335.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-BHAIKH AL-MUF~D

INDEX

124, 131, 132, 234, 242, 246-250, 253-255, 268, 270, 271, 276, 342, 353, 364, 387. 'Ali al-Aswzri: 156. 'Ali b. al-Ijusain (Imam) : 131. 'Ali al-Irwgni: 33. 'Ali b. 'Is& al-RummHni: 9, 10, 40, 89. 'Ali b. Mazyad: 20. 'Ali al-Nasafi: 32. 'Ali b. Nagr al-'AbdajHni: 31. 'Ali al-Rid5 (Imam): 85, 343, 347. 'Ali b. TH'us: 31, 36. al-'A11&ma al-villi: 7, 25, 42. Allard, M.: 32, 134, 135. 'Amid al-Juytish, Abii 'Ali: 18, 20. al-Amin, Mulpin: 277. al-Amir Abii 'Abd AllHh: 31, 33. Andrae, T. : 99. Aristotle: 191, 325, 375, 376. 'ArzHla: 16. al-Agamm, Abii Bakr: 40, 280. al-Ash'ari, Abii I-wasan: 3, 49, 61, 63, 71, 76, 79, 80, 86, 87, 100, 109, 115, 133, 134, 137, 149-151, 156,160, 164, 166, 167, 178, 179, 181, 190, 197-199, 201, 203, 210, 214, 217, 218, 222, 225-227, 229, 234, 237, 241, 243, 250, 269, 280, 285, 324, 332, 333, 339, 344, 346, 350. al-'Atabi: see Ibn Qutaiba. al-BaghdHdi, 'Abd al-QHhir: 72, 87, 116, 145, 199, 266, 299, 330. Bahi' al-Dawla: 14, 17, 18. al-BHhili, Abii 'Umar: 5. al-Balkhi, Abii 1-QHsim (al-Ka'bi) : 5, 23,40, 58, 61, 67-69, 72-74, 139, 145, 147, 148, 150, 152, 163, 165, 167, 171-173, 175, 190-196,200-202,2052 18,220,22 1,229,244,262,272,275, 293, 294, 300, 395. al-BHqillHni: 14, 15, 37, 38, 87, 135, 136, 197, 292, 293. Banii 'Arqal: 30. Barbier de Meynard, M.: 250.

Bardesanes: 225. al-BarqH'i: 3 1. Bernand, M. : 288. Biram, A. : 190, 191, 194, 195,200,206, 217. Bishr b. al-Mu'tamir: 5, 79, 82, 147, 168, 170. Bouman, J.: 87, 387. Brockelmann, C.: 9, 373. Brunschwig, R.: 57, 277, 285, 287, 290, 293. Buhl, F.: 95. al-BukhHri: 362. Busse,H.: 6, 14, 16, 19,20. Cahen, Cl. : 16. Canard, M. : 33. Carra de Vaux, B. : 253. al-Dajjll : 130. al-DHmaghHni : 37. al-DaqqHq, Abii Bakr : 16. -- al-Dhahabi: 8, 9. Dhii 1-Yadain: 99, 356. Qirsr b. 'Amr: 156, 271. Donaldson, D.: 39. Eklund, R.: 253. Eliash, J. : 98. Fiidil, al-Sayyid: 38. al-Fad1 b. ShHdhHn: 321. al-FHrHbi: 43, 84. FHfima: 14, 31. FHtima bint Nagr : 14. Frank, R.: 134. Fyzee, A,: 314, 335, 357. Gardet, L.: 236. Gardet and Anawati: 1, 7. al-GhazzHli: 42, 227. GhulHm al-BahrZni : 40. Goldziher, I.: 29, 32, 93, 94, 105-107, 121, 290, 296.

al-lj;ikim (Caliph) : 19. al-ljall5j : 32. HBriin: 35. HHriin nl-Kashicl (Caliph): 5. al-l$~san b. 'Ali (Inram) : 124, 130, 131. Hishsm al-Fuwati: 86, 144, 160-162, 197, 198, 240. Hishim b. al-Hakam: 25, 100, 137, 143, 144, 198,223,225,228,333,392. Hodgson, M.: 80, 114. Horten, M.: 61, 139, 189-191, 193, 201, 206-209, 211, 213, 216, 217, 220, 244. al-Husain b. 'Ali (Imam) : 124, 131, 345, 348. Ibn 'AbbHd, al-SHbib: 6, 13, 40, 349. Ibn Abi 1-Badid: 14. Ibn Abi Tayy: 9. Ibn al-AkfHni: 18. Ibn al-Athir: 17, 20, 21. Ibn 'Awn: 32. Ibn Bibiiya al-Qummi: 3-5, 13, 22, 23, 29-31, 41, 64, 81, 98, 101, 107, 114, 116, 148, 239, 255, 277, 288, 298,304-306,311, 314-372,393, 396. Ibn al-BHqillHni: see al-BiiqillHni. Ibn Batfa: 100. Ibn DaiqHn: 325. Ibn al-Ham(m)Hmi: 30. Ibn yazm: 161, 240, 244, 362. Ibn al-Ikhshid, Abii Bakr: 6, 32, 112, 119, 222, 223. Ibn al-Jawzi: 14, 18-20. Ibn al-Junaid al-IskHfi: 33, 40, 179, 277, 305, 306, 308, 3 11. Ibn Kathir: 14, 19. Ibn Khaldiin: 7. Ibn Khallikiin: 19, 30. Ibn KullHb: 32, 137. Ibn Mas'iid: 19, 95, 96, 98, 387. Ibn Mattawaih: 7. Ibn Muljam: 268.

Ibn nl-Mur~ad8:5, 29, 32, 40, 61, 62, 13!), 190, 207, 210, 214, 229, 246, 373, 376. Ibn al-Naditn: 0, 10, 23, 32, 40, 93-95. Ibn Nubiita: 30. Ibn Qiiliiya, Abii Ja'far: 12, 13, 33. Ibn Qiiliiya, Abii 1-Q&im: 12, 13, 36. Ibn Qutaiba: 32. Ibn Rashid: 32. lbn al-Riiwandi: 222, 226, 271, 331, 332. Ibn Sa'd: 356. Ibn Sahlln: 2 1. Ibn Shabib: 246, 251, 254. Ibn Shahrshiib: 11-13, 25-40. Ibn Taymiyya: 2, 3. Ibn WHqid al-Sunni: 29. IbrHhim: 320, 336, 347. IbrHhim b. Muhammad: 349. IbrHhim b. al-Walid (Caliph) : 124. al-Ikhshid: see Ibn al-Ikhshid. IqbH1, 'AbbHs: 1, 23, 25, 115, 393. 'Is%: 83, 85, 351. 'IS% D H ~33. b. : al-IvbahZni, M4ammad b. 'Abd All&: 201. IsmH'i1 b. IbrHhim: 335, 347. IsmH'il b. Ja'far: 330, 333, 335, 337. al-Igfakhri, 'Ali: 17. 'Iygd, al-Qiidi: 15. Izutzu, T.: 244. Ja'far b. q a r b : 40, 79, 80, 165, 179. Ja'far b. Mubashshir: 386. Ja'far al-SHdiq (Imam): 34, 44, 92, 98, 129, 307, 316, 331, 333, 335, 336, 341, 343, 351, 353, 359, 362. al-JHhiq: 12, 31, 32, 40, 68, 156, 169, 170, 176, 331. al-Jahm b. SafwHn: 144, 157-159, 198. al-Jurjki: 199. al-Juwaini: 89, 90, 199.

THETHEOLOQYOFAL

INDEX

al-Ka'bi: see al-Balkhi. al-Kanttiri, H.: 36. al-KarHbBi: 32. al-KarHjakI: 2, 28, 30, 284. al-Kashshi: 114. al-KhHlidi: 32. al-KharsHn: 2, 17, 26. aI-Khatib al-Baghdsdi: 6, 8, 15, 18, 30, 62. al-Khayyiit: 2, 3, 5, 71, 87, 92, 144, 196, 225, 226, 331, 332. Khw5nsHri, Mdammad BHqir : 10. al-Kirmsni: 30. Kohlberg, E.: 98. Kraus, P.: 2 16. al-Kulaini: 3, 65, 84, 92, 98, 122, 315. Lammens, H. : 130. Laoust, H.: 17. Lbschner, H. : 277. Macdonald, .D.: 227. Madelung, W.: 1, 12, 25, 124, 234, 250, 341. al-Msfarriikhi: 30. al-Mahdi: see Twelfth Imam. Mabmiid b. Subuktikh: 17. al-Majlisi, Mdammad BHqir: 33, 41, 357. al-Malafi : 6. al-Maymiin (Caliph) : 5, 16. Manakdim: 7, 53, 148, 182, 184. Mani: 325. Mgriya the Copt: 37. Massignon, H.: 14, 23. al-M~turidi: 60. McCarthy, R. : see al-Ash'ari. Miryam Umm '1~2:130. Mu'ammar: 25, 169, 170, 176,225-227. Mu'swiya (Caliph) : 124. al-Maalli, SulaimHn: 58. Muhammad b. 'Abd AllHh, al-Nafs alZakiyya: 124.

Mdpmmad al-BHqir (Imam) :92, 360. Maammad b. Bashir: 115. Mdammad al-JawZd (Imam) : 85. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-RabHn alFfirisi: 39. Muhammad b. al-Khidr al-Fbisi: 38. Muhammad b. al-TayyHr: 161. Mu'izz al-Dawla: 17. al-MukhGr: 330, 332. MuqHtil b. 'Abd al-RahmHn: 31. 396. MbH: 35, 83, 111, 151, 393. MiisH al-KHsim (Imam): 351. Mq'ab b. al-Zubair: 17. al-Mbgwi, Abii 'Abd AllHh M.: 14. al-MiisHwi, Abii &mad: 14, 17. al-Mutawakkil (Caliph) : 5. al-NajHshi: 9, 11-13, 23-40, 308. al-NajjHr : 140, 147. al-Nasafi, Abii Ja'far: 37. al-NHshi al-Agghar : 12. al-Naqibi: 40, 199. al-Nagr b. Bashir: 31. Nawbakht, Banii : 3, 11, 12, 22-25, 92, 98, 110-113, 116, 119, 193, 195, 223, 237, 240, 258, 259, 261, 262, 395, 396. Nawbakhti, Abii IsbHq IbrHhim: 25. Nawbakhti, Abii M4ammad Hasan: 23, 38, 85, 114, 331. Nawbakhti, Abii Sahl: 11, 12,22,23,25. al-Na?q&m: 66, 86-88, 145, 148, 155, 156, 164, 169-172, 189, 191, 196,201, 205, 216, 217, 219, 225, 386. al-NisHbiiri, Abii 1-qasan: 30. Noah: 83, 354. Nbldeke, Th.: 93, 303. al-Niiri, al-'A11Hma: 33. Pellat, Ch.: 32. Pharaoh: 354.

Pines, S.: 189, 194, 196, 201, 225, 227. Pretzl, 0.: 134, 189, 225, 227. al-QHdir (Caliph) : 16, 17, 20. al-QHYim see Twelfth Imam. : al-Qummi, Abii 1-Hasan 'Ali: 93, 96. al-Qummi, Muhammad b. Ahmad: 36. Qutrub: 29. al-Radi, al-Sharif: 14, 17,-22. al-RHwandq Qutb al-Din: 393. al-RHzi, Fakhr al-Din: 227. al-RHzi, Muhammad b. ZakariyyH': 194. al-RifHY, Abii 1-QHsim 'Ali: 12. Rukn al-Dawla : 13. Ruqayya: 38. Sa'd b. 'Abd A11Hh: 115. al-Safadi: 199. SHlih Qubba: 170. al-Samarqandi, Abii MuqHtil: 234. Satan: 15, 339, 357. Schacht, J. : 71, 297, 298. Sezgin, F.: 26-40. al-Sha'bi, Abii 'Amr : 32. al-ShHfi'i: 28, 296, 298, 299, 303. al-ShafiHm, Abii Ya'qiib: 196, 197. al-ShahrastHni: 87, 197, 218, 226, 330, 332. Shaitiin al-Tlq: 15. al-Shatawi, Abii 'Amr: 16. al-Shatawi, Abii 1-wasan: 62, 201 Shimr: 268. Shiistari, NGrulla: 9, 10, 15. Sibawayh: 29. Sourdel, D.: 2. Strothmann, R. : 1. al-Siifylni : 130. SulaimHn b, Jarir: 137-139, 331. al-Tabarsi: 11. Tshir Ghullm Abi 1-Jaish: 11.

Talha: 10, 249. al-Talhi: 40. al-Tawhidi, Abii 1-UayyHn: 13 ThHbit b. Qurra: 23. ThZbit Qutnii: 280. al-Tha'lab : 32. ThumHma: 168-170. al-Tibi, Abii Ja'far: 2, 9, 11, 13, 23, 2-5-40, 305,385. Twelfth Imam (al-QHYim, al-Mahdi) : 3, 11, 21, 31, 35, 39, 51-53, 95, 96, 102, 110,126-130,241,242,246, 268, 276,279, 281-284,295, 311, 316, 318. Ubaiy b. Ka'b: 95, 96, 387. 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz (Caliph) : 124. 'Umar b. al-Khattilb (Caliph) : 33, 302, 303. 'UthmHn (Caliph): 38, 92, 94, 98, 99. Vadet, J.-C.: 6. Van Arendonck, C.: 246. Van den Bergh, S.: 134, 191. Van Ess, J.: 57, 60-62, 68, 170, 197, 244, 301. Van Vloten, G.: 250, 279. WHqid b. Abi WHqid al-Laithi: 29. WarrHm b. Amir FawHris ( W a r r h b. Abi Firh) : 9. WHgil b. 'At%': 22 al-Wiisiti : 40. Watt, W.M.: 164. Wensinck, J.: 83, 111, 235, 255, 256, 270, 279, 344. Yazid b. al-Walid (Caliph): 124. Zaid b. 'Ali: 124. Zaid b. ThHbit: 98. Zainab: 38. Zakariyyl' : 130. al-Zanjgni : 11. al-Zubair: 10, 249. ZurHra b. A'yHn: 161, 341. ZurqHn: 225.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAMH AL-MUF~D

INDEX

11. GROUPS

Physicians (atibbd') : 227. Polytheists (al-mushriktin): 140, 247-249, 360. Qadariter : 250,254,287, 342, 346, 349. Qumm, School of: 12, 101, 357, 358, 395, 396. al-Rifida (pejorative for Imamites) : 2, 3, 8, 9, 17, 92, 100, 109, 331, 332. Scholars (al-'ulami'): 295, 309, 31 1. Slii'a: passim. Stoics: 134, 196. Sunnites (al-'imma): 24, 37, 136, 156, 197, 279, 289, 296, 298, 307, 311, 341, 344, 359. Theologians (al-mutakallimrSn): 22, 43, 141, 146, 160, 193, 197, 200, 201, 204-206,210,212,215,289,303,320;

L---

This and the following index are principally in English. But when a single Arabic word has several translations, the reference is given under the Arabic word. 'AbbLids: 16, 124, 131. Anthropomorphists (al-mushabbiha): 67, 76, 89, 133, 135, 136, 139, 145, 147, 161, 175, 193, 194, 251, 253, 275, 323, 347. Ash'arites: 60, 63, 89, 99, 135, 136, 145, 147, 152, 167, 168, 198, 211, 216, 232, 235, 236, 240, 377. Astronomers: 210, 211, 213, 214. Atheists (al-mulhidtin): 1?A, 190, 191, 215. 364. Attribute Party (al-pyitiyya): 137-141, 145, 147, 377. Baghdad and Basran schools of Mu'tazilism: 5-7, 395-397, and passim. al-Bahshamiyya: 5, 6, 36. al-BGiniyya (Isma'ilis) : 17. Brahmins: 318. al-Butriyya : 246. Buyids: 3, 16, 17, 349. Christians: 140, 361. Common people (al-'dmm) : 243, 244, 288, 317. al-Daisdniyya 225. D'elegators (al-mufawwiQa) : 108, 110, 112, 114. Determinists (al-mujbira) : 66, 67, 7C, 76, 78, 91, 141, 144, 147, 148, 150, 155, 160, 165-168, 170-172, 178-181, 183, 184, 193, 194, 198, 215, 239, 242, 247, 251, 253, 260, 263, 264, 275, 287, 302, 342, 344, 345, 347, 352, 379. Enemies of 'Ali: 246-250, 253, 387. Fatimids: 17, 20. al-Ghuldt (exaggerators, extremists) : 23, 108, 110, 112, 114, 356-358, 367. al-)3anbaliyya : 36. al-Hashwiyya (ignorant, uncritical traditionists) : 67, 165, 171, 194, 215, 362. Heretics (ah1 al-bida'): 245-247, 251. al-Ikhshidiyya : 6. al-Jahmiyya: 264. al-Jirtidiyya: 38. Jews: 334, 392, 393. Jurists, legists: 8, 18, 288, 289, 292, 298,303; Imamite: 98,111, 113,116, 240, 267, 270, 295. Justice Party, People of Justice (al-'adliyya, ah1 al-'adl) : 22, 160, 166, 171, 178, 180, 181, 183, 184, 186, 221, 229,239,254,264,265,275,280,336. al-Karrimiyya, 227. Kharijites (al-khawirij, al-mubakkima) : 9, 60, 119, 120, 131, 140, 155, 156, 233, 234, 236, 237, 241, 246, 247, 268, 269, 279, 280, 287, 298, 302. al-Khizimiyya : 241. Magians (al-majrls): 325, 342, 346, al-Makramiuua : 241. "" al-Marwiniyya: 29, 40, 124. Materialists (al-dahriyya): 209. Mlturidites : 244. Murji'ites: 67, 73, 84, 90, 120, 140, 145, 147, 152, 155, 156, 162, 184, 234, 235, 237, 239, 246, 250-252, 254-256, 258, 261, 262, 268, 279, 285, 287, Mu'tazilites :passim. 349.

Imamite: 1, 11, 13,98,111, 113, 116, 161, 253, 265, 267, 270, 271, 273, 285, 316, 322, 326, 330, 331, 367, 376, 395, 396. Traditionists (a$)tdb al-hadith or alakhbir): 7, 8, 39, 60, 78, 84, 90, 99, 113, 115, 116, 119, 120, 131, 140, 152, 155, 156, 162, 213, 236, 237, 246, 251, 254, 264, 268, 270, 274, 280, 284, 287, 289, 302, 306, 309, 317, 322, 359, 367 ; Imamite: 12, 22, 111, 113, 116, 240, 267, 270, 271, 273, 278, 316, 395, 396.
'

al-' Uthmciniyya : 32. Ziihirites: 12, 290, 296. Zaidites: 7, 16, 36, 38, 60, 73, 90, 119, 120, 131, 140, 145, 151, 155, 156, 161, 162,236,237,246,268,280,302,331. Zindiqs: 364.

111. SUBJECTS
Ability (isti/d6a, tiqa) : 55, 159, 160, 162, 163, 165, 167-169, 178,343,351, 352, 368: see also "power". Abrogation (naskh): 64, 97, 222, 297, 301-304, 330-336, 354, 392, 393. Accident ('arad) : 42, 43, 54, 89, 149, 151. 167, 168, 175, 176, 187, 191, Angels: 29, 32, 84, 102, 1Q6, 110, 118, 119, 135, 235, 270-272, 276, 278, 282, 303, 339, 355, 356, 361, 362. Anthropomorphism (tashbih): 3, 32, 134, 316, 323, 336, 338. Apostasy (ridda) : 245, 247, 278. A~uetite(shahwa) : 177. .. Approximation (taqarrub) : 166. 'Ashiirii' : 17. Assent: (tafdiq): 236. jz, Atom ( u ' jawhar): 42, 43, 54, 190232 (especially 200-202), 327, 375. Atomism: 189, 201, 327, 375. Attribute ($fa) : 134-154, 173, 328, 329, 367, 376-378, 396.

131, 161, 241, 259, 298.

Philosophers (falSJifa, awd'il, qudamd') : 31, 43, 44, 171, 172, 191, 201, 204, 206,207,211-213,215,226,227, 364.

Acquisition (kasb) : 140, 162, 170, 171, 347. 18 Advantage (nay) : 181. Agent of the Imam (wakil): 3, 38, 128; . . . see also 1 19. Ambiguous passages (mutashdbihdt) : 30 1, 304. Bad&' (change of mind, change of Analogy (qiycis): 15, 23, 37, 56, 64, 67, command): 302, 329-339, 368, 392, 110, 112, 132, 145,277,285, 289-295, 393. 296, 305-307, 3 1 1. ~ ~ ( p u d a~ ~awd*il): 207, 213, /,."'al-Barzakh: ~ m ~, i ~ ~ t 252, 253, 270, 271, 276. Beasts (hayawinit): 186, 244, 382, 391. 214, 223; see also c'philosophers".

INDEX

L,

Believer and unbeliever (mu'min, klfir) : 55, 233-250, 251 -276. Best interests (al-qlah): 36, 51, 53, 71-76, 79, 99, 109, 125-127, 132, 183, 184, 186, 317, 334, 380, 385, 396. Body (jism): 24, 50, 112-1 14, 169, 190228 (especially 205, 206, 224-228), 253, 269-276, 325, 327, 339, 362-364, 368, 375, 381. Bulk (bajm): 191, 223. Camel, Battle o f : 10, 29. Cancellation (ihbll): 24, 184-186, 2.56264, 276, 385, 386, 388, 389. Celestial sphere (falak): 202-204, 2 13215. Choice (ikhtiycir): 162, 163, 379, 391. Command (amr): 147, 148, 177, 178, 224, 238. Commanding the good (al-amr bilmac7@f): 56, 124, 277, 279, 280, 53, 316, -389, 390. Common good (ma$laba): 127, 279, 303, 309. Compensation ('iwad): 55, 155, 181187, 261, 382-384. Completed and discontinued acts (almawsu'l wal-maq)ic): 16 l . - . Consensus (id') 36, 106, 1 1 1 , 112, : 120, 121, 152, 162, 173, 261, 277, 285; 287; 28~,-289; 299, 307, 310, 311, 390. Coercion, compulsion, constraint, determinism, forcing (idjircir, i&', jabr) : 13, 32, 71, 78, 79, 91, 150, 156, 162, 163, 263, 316, 343, 346-348, 351, 352, 379, 391, 392. Cooperation with the wicked: 282-284.

Disputation, controversy, debate, dialectic (jadal, muneara): 7 , 9, 13, 28, 33, 34, 37, 245, 260, 293, 294, 315317, 322, 346. Dissimulation (taqiyya): 16, 52, 99, 277, 280-282, 309-31 1 , 316, 317, 322, 331. Dreams: 1 1 1 . Dualism: 91, 225, 227, 228, 325. Earth: 213-215, 231. Element ()abica):216, 217, 227, 231. Enabling (tamkin): 38 1. Exaggeration (ghuhw): 114, 358. Existence o f God : 42, 43, 5 1 , 54,60,6 1 , 143, 189, 190, 319, 320, 324-326, 355, 375. Expediency (isti$llb): 28 1. Experience (ikhtiblr): 12 1, 122. Extension (bayyiz): 191, 192, 206-208, 229, 230. Fadak: 10. Faith (imcin): 24, 40, 51, 125, 126, , 233-250 (especially 235-238), 277-279, 283, 359-361. Falling short (taqflr): 115, 357, Fard, munfarid: 376. Fault (dhanb): 100. Forbidden (mabctir): 64. Friendship (waliya): 238-240, 242, 260, 270,272. Garden (al-janna): 24, 38, 45, 50, 68, 69, 72, 76, 113, 224, 233, 243, 244, 250, 252, 253, 255, 260, 261, 271, 273, 274, 288, 352, 360, 361, 363, 369, 383, 390, 391, 396. Generosity (jlSd): 73, 74, 77, 79, 82, 115, 156, 183, 184, 186, 187, 263, 264. 276. 381. 396. . . . Ghadir Khurnrn: 10, 17, 28. Good and evil (al-basan wal-qabib) : 44, 62-66, 296. ' < iGrave, torment o f the ('adhrib al-qabr) : 222, 269-272, 276, 321, 390. ,+he

Harm (madarra): 18 1. Help and abandonment ( a l - n q walkhidhltin) : 80. Huija (proof, argument) : 80, 116, 117, 120, 122, 128, 130-132, 151, 279, 287, 288, 299, 320. Vukm (judicial status, legal ruling) : 29, 34, 109, 123, 233-250 (especially 2 8 ,278, 291, 301-303, 359. 3) Zjtihrid (personal endeavor) : 8, 56, 132, 284,288,289, 293,294, 295-298, 309. . . 'Zlla (reason, cause) : 290-296. Imamate: 39, 40, 42, 44, 50, 53, 56, 105-132, 278, 279, 281, 283, 287Incapable ('@it) : 178, 179. Infants: 72, 182,244, 382, 383. Inner (bitin): 309. Inspiration (waby): 1 1 1, 288, 320, 353. Intercession (shafl'a) : 250, 254-256, 258, 260, 273-276, 388, 396. Zqrcir (profession, confession): 234, 237, 239, 252. >slam : 233-250 (especially 236, 237, 247, 248), 277, 278, 359, 360.' 'I,rmi (protection from sin and error, infallibility): 50, 56, 81, 82, 99-101, 105-112, 116-118, 128, 131, 333, 355-358, 367, 386. Jurisprudence (Jiqh): 28, 31, 33, 34, 39, 277-304. Justice (al-'adl) : 2, 44, 50-55, 73, 77-79, 130, 132, 155-187, 216, 239, 242, 244, 254, 258, 259, 262-264, 279, 300, 341-352,367, 379-384, 393,396. Ka'ba: 113, 359, 360. Kcifir (unbeliever, infidel): 24, 72, 100, 178, 179, 233-250,251376, 360,381, 388. Kallm: see "theology". Kawn (form o f being, fundamental accident, adjunct) : 192, 200, 202, 217, 218, 230, 326, 327. Khald' (void, vacuum) : 193-195, 220, 229, 230.

Knowing ( ' a m ) : 143, 144, 151, 152, 172, 196, 198, 218, 221, 227, 288, 294, 328, 376. Knowledge ('ilm) : 57-70, 108-1 10, 114, 116, 119-121, 137,299,300,305,328, 330, 339, 342-346, 348, 356, 376, 377 ; necessary (darcri): 63, 66-69, 274, 291, 292, 299-301; acquired (muktasab) : 63, 67, 301 ; innate: 67, 384. Knowledge (ma'rifa) : 53, 233-250, 252, 253, 283, 339, 373-375. Kufr (unbelief, infidelity): 59, 90, 125, 127, 179, 180, 247, 248, 278, 279, 328, 344, 360. Language (lisrin, lugha): 50, 85, 92, 135, 146, 248, 284, 285, 303, 343. Lesson (ictiblr): 182, 183, 257, 382. Libraries: 26. Lutf (favor,help) : 52, 56, 58,74, 76-82, 87, 109, 113, 115-118, 126, 127, 156, 183, 262-265, 280, 339, 352, 381, 384. Magnitude (mis*a) : 191, 192. Maball (substrate, subject): 149, 151, 169, 175, 209, 218, 220, 228, 377, 378. Majtiz (figure o f speech, metaphor): 44, 90, 150, 196, 199, 274, 275, 338-340, 365. v ~ a n 25, 35, 172, 184, 189, 190, 222: 228,231, 232,269-271,275, 359, 381. Ma'nd (entity, idea, quality, accident) : 133, 134, 136-141, 149, 168, 200, 215, 226, 326. Mediate cause (sabab): 2 12. ! Middle Position (al-manzila bain alJ. manzilatain):22,24, 53, 233, 394, 396. Miracle (mu'jiza): 24, 29, 33, 36, 37, 56, 84-86, 102, 112, 119, 129, 131, 390, 396. Movement (takrruk): 206-211, 2 13, 214, 226, 230, 231. Mut'a (temporary marriage) : 27, 33, 36, 40.

Destiny (al-qadi wal-qadar): 341, 342, 346, 349. Defilement (danas): 356. ~ e l e g a t i o n (fafurid): 114, 341, 343, 344, 357. Demonstration (istidlll): 60, 132. Direct causality: 211, 212, 216, 232.

T H E THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH

AL-MUF'ID

INDEX

Names and judgments (al-asma" walabkim) : 55, 233-250. Naqib: 14, 16, 20, 21. Najj (appointment o f a successor, specific determination, textual revelation): 37, 38, 105, 131, 289, 291296. Natural disposition (fabi'a): 318. Nature (tab'): 169-171, 177, 215, 216, 221, 231, 232, Naqar (reasoning, speculation): 4 , 5, 7 , 51, 53, 56, 67, 68, 141, 150, 209, 218,222,244,245,251,272,294,305, 306, 308, 315-317, 373-376. Necessary being (wcijib al-wujzd) : 42. : .Nonexistent (macdtim) 35, 36, 141, 144, 196-199, 230, 375. Obedience (ti'a) : 24, 56, 234, 237, 248, 252, 256, 257-262, 345, 359, 379, 388. Occultation (ghaiba): 3, 21, 23, 31, 35, 36, 39, 40, 51, 110, 1 1 1 , 123, 125, 126-131, 281, 295, 390. Omission (tark): 157-160. Outlines (maqa'dlr): 342, 345, 359. Pain: 172, 181-187, 221, 374, 382-387. Pardon, forgiveness: 248-250, 253, 255, 258, 262, 263, 267, 276, 305, 388. Particle (dharr): 362. Path (al-jirit): 274, 276, 390. Perception (idrcik): 144-147, 175, 176, 195, 215, 217-222, 231, 377, 381. Permanence (baqi'): 45, 89, 195, 196, 200-203, 205, 206, 224, 230, 232; (labth): 44. Permitted: 64, 297, 321, 360. Personal opinion (ra'y): 23, 284, 286, 288, 296, 305, 308. Place (makin): 35, 193, 206-21 1 , 213215, 226, 229, 230, 326. Platonism/neoplatonism : 362. Polytheism (shirk): 100, 248. Possible (mumkin): 42, 43.

Position (jiha): 191, 192. Potential (maqdjr): 198, 199. Power (qudra): 82, 139, 280, 339, 3%, 348, 350, 351, 376, 377, 379. Preference (ithir): 163. Prevention (farfa): 87-89, 387. Produced i n time (muhdath, badith, bddith): 42, 54, 90, 112, 223, 270, 324-329,353-355, 364,367,373,375, 377. T h e Promise and the Threat (al-wa'd wal-wa'id) : 40, 53, 55, 216, 224, 348, 251-276, 344, 386, 396. Prophecy (nubuwwa): 42, 44, 50, 53, 56, 83-102, 115, 116, 356, 357, 384. Purposeful (mubkam): 144. Qilib (outer form, sheath): 226, 271. Qadar (quantity, dimension) : 191. Quran: 19, 24, 35, 36, 40, 51, 59, 85, 86-99. 102, 103, 120, 135, 284-286, 288, 309-31 1, 353-355, 367, 368, 387. Reason ('aql): 28, 35, 44, 51, 53, 57-70, 78, 87, 106, 110, 112, 120-122, 125, 130, 131, 144, 145, 147, 151, 152, 267, 272, 276, 280, 284-286, 290-293, 295-297, 299, 300, 306, 309-311, 317-322, 336, 350, 367, 374, 375, 378,385,387,388, 395,396; cf. "Revelation". Recita'tion and the recited (al-ltikdya wal-mahki) : 32, 91, 102. Reckoning (hisrib): 273, 274. Re-creation: 201, 292. Religion (din, milla): 67, 71, 74, 76, 235, 237, 247-249, 281, 282, 298, 307, 316, 317, 360, 380, 381, 395. Repentance (tawba): 10, 38, 74, 78, 251, 252, 264-268, 276, 333, 334, 360, 361, 380, 381. Resurrection (al-qiycima): 202, 252-255, 261, 276, 282, 341. Retaliation (iqti&) : 186. Return (al-macdd, al-rajca):42, 50, 52, 268, 269, 276, 282.

; ,

Revelation (sum') : 44, 51, 54, 60-66,78, 122, 125, 130, 131, 144, 145, 147, 152, 173,267,280, 192-293,295-297, 317-322, 332, 333, 353-358, 367, 374,375, 378, 384,385,388, 389,395, 396. Reward (jazd'): 24, 42, 54, 63, 76, 79, 115, 125-128, 156, 158, 185, 186, 238, 243, 244, 255-257, 258-264, 269, 273, 274, 303, 361, 380, 383, 387, 388, 391. Ridd (approval, goodpleasure) : 148, 238, 344, 345, 348, 349. Sahw (distraction, inadvertence, negligence): 41, 50, 99-101, 107, 115, 118, 148, 356-358, 368, 386, 396. T h e Scales (al-mfzin): 273, 274, 276, 390. Sensation (ihscis): 145, 174-176, 217222, 231, 273, 274. Sin (fisq, dhanb, kabira, ~aghira) 24, : 99-101, 107, 118, 251, 254, 256-258, 356, 368, 385, 386, 389. Sinner (fikiq, murfakib al-kabi'ir / $aghd'ir): 5, 10, 25, 45, 55, 74, 233251 (especially 237), 251 -275, 345, 359, 360, 369, 380, 381, 387-389, 393, 396. Speech (kalim): 89-92, 134, 135, 15 1 , 152, 171,275,288,353, 355,364,374. Spirit, soul, breath (rCb, nafs) : 25 116, 172, 198, 217, 222-228, 231, 232, 253, 269, 275, 362-365, 382. Spontaneous (mukhtari', mubtadi') : 2 1 1 , 212, 231. T h e Stamp and the Seal (al-fabcwalkhatm) : 180, 181. States (abwil): 54, 136-142, 328, 376, 377, 396. States o f the dying (al-muwifdt): 161, 239-242, 246, 388, 389. . Structure (binya): 377, 378. . Substance (jawhar): 54,191, 200, 204, 207,213,215,222-224,226,230,232, 270.

Substitution (badal) : 178-180, 187. Sultan: 124, 279, 282, 390. Sunna, customary precedent: 56, 161, 173, 284, 286, 291, 295, 303-305, 309, 311. J ~ a k l i f (imposition o f moral obligation, responsibility) : 51, 53, 57-69, 72, 73, 75-77, 118, 121, 156, 158, 178, 182, 186, 263, 349, 379, 380, 384, 390, 391. v-Tankukh (metempsychosis, reincarnation): 116, 362-365, 368. Taqdir (design, predetermination) : 342, 343, 364. Taqlid (blind acceptance o f authority, passive imitation): 33, 51, 53, 61, 215, 242,248-245, 247, 253, 306, 316, 395. Tawallud (generated, mediate, indirect effects): 155, 167, 169-177, 178, 187, 220, 266, 374. Tawfiq (divine help, prompting) : 60, 81. Tawqif (instruction, notification, statement) : 131, 293. Territory (dir): 277-279. Test (ikhtibdr): 76, 274, 379, 380. Theology ('ilm al-kalim): 1 , 2, 4, 7-9, 31, 34, 36, 42, 43, 134, 189, 194, 210,222,245,277, 315, 316,321,324, 354, 367, 373, 375, 394-397. T i m e (zamin, awqit) : 202-205, 208-2 1 1 , 226, 229, 230; particular time, moment (waqt, bcila) : 201 -204, 208, 209. T i m e o f ignorance (al-jihiliyya): 5 1 , 120, 128, 246. Tradition (khabar, badith): 30, 36, 39, 110, 120, 122, 131, 132, 253, 267, 269-271, 284, 293, 304-311, 315, 317, 320, 321, 323, 336, 357, 367, 368, 385; isolated, single-source (khabar al-w@id): 56, 96, 284, 288, 298, 299, 306, 31 1 , 362, 364; widespread, multi-attested (mutawitir): 1 12, 144, 299-301, 304, 306, 31 1.

THE THEOLOGY OF AL-SHAIKH AL-MUF~D

The Threat (al-wa'id): 34, 39, 40, 248, 249, 251-276, 285, 375, 394, 396. Trial (balwa', mibna) : 185, 379. Union (itti@d): 31, 140. Unity (tawbid): 3, 23, 42, 50, 51, 53, 54, 130, 132, 133-135, 216, 300, 323-329, 347, 393, 396. Universal and particular (al-'umim walkhu~ii~) : 285-287, 309. Usage, practice ('urf,,' 'amal bi-) : 299, 310, 311. Vengeance (inti@) : 383. Vision of God (ru'ya) : 339, 340, 367.

Willing, will-act (irdda): 36, 147-150, 162-166, 169, 171, 177, 226, 330, 344-349, 377-379, 396; (murid): 133, 377. ,., Witness of the limbs: 44, 274-276. World ('dlam) : 213. Yawm al-ghdr: 17. Zann (conjecture, opinion) : 292-294, 305. Zulm (injustice, wrong) : 55, 62,64, 66, 88, 155-157, 181, 182, 187, 258, 283, 296, 297, 349-351, 375, 379, 382.

Printed at the
IMPRIMERIE CATHOLIQUE, BEIRUT

lV. PLACES DinawHr: 31. Fars: 307. al-vg'ir : 4 1. villa: 20. JurjBn: 30. Karkh: 14, 16, 18-20. KhurLHn: 17. KhtizistHn: 39. Mashhad 'UthmHn: 30, 39. MBzandarBn: 39, 307. Mosul: 31, 33, 307. NawbandajHn : 39. NisHbiir : 307. Rayy: 13, 287, 349. The Sawiid: 243. TabaristHn: 3 1. 'Ukbarii: 9, 39.

March 1978