How Imaam al-Ash’ari Abandoned his Teacher

The majority of the controversies that appeared in Ilmul-Kalaam (the name given for the principles of Aqeedah) were created among the Mu’tazilah from among all the sects. This was due to them being the first sect to have laid down the foundations of controversy and opposition to that which appears in the apparent and clear Sunnah which the Sahaabah Radhiyallahu anhum held on with dear life in every facet.

The name of the leader of the baatil Mu’tazilah sect was Waasil ibn ‘Ataa who held the belief that the person who commits a major sin is neither a Muslim nor a Kaafir, but rather, he is in a middle stage (al manzil baynal manzilatayn), i.e, a stage between Imaan and Kufr.

He used to attend the majlis (gathering) of Imaam Hasan Basri Rahmatullahi Alaihi. After Imaam Hasan Basri Rahmatullahi Alaihi and the Muslims rejecting this concocted belief, Waasil ibn ‘Ataa withdrew himself from them, so Imaam Hasan Basri said: “He has withdrawn himself from us (i’tzala minnaa.” Thus they became known as the “Mu’tazilah”, literally: The Withdrawers,” because by their beliefs they had withdrawn themselves from the Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.

They became known as the Mu’tazillah, but the name they used for themselves was, “Ashaab al-Adl wat-Tawheed (The people of Justice and Tawheed) because they believed that it is waajib on Allah Ta’alaa to reward the obedient one and to punish the sinner, and they denied that the attributes of Allah Ta’ala are Qadeem. (Eternal), without a beginning).

Thereafter, they went deep into the field of ‘ilm-ul-Kalaam and began clinging onto the tails of the philosophers in much of the usool (of kalaam) and their Madhab spread among the people (i.e., the Madhab of I’tizaal), until the time when Imaam Abul Hasan al-Ashari Rahmatullahi Alaihi (who until this point had been from the Mu’tazilah) said to his Ustaadh, Abu Ali al-Jubbaa’i,

“What do you say regarding three brothers, one of whom dies whilst he had been obedient unto Allah Ta’ala, the other dies whilst he had been disobedient unto Allah Ta’ala, and the third dies as an infant?”

Al-Jubba’i responded: “The first will be rewarded with Jannah, The second will be punished in Jahannam. The third will neither be rewarded nor punished.”

Imaam al-Ash’ari asked, “What if the third, who died as an infant, says to Allah Ta’ala: O Allah, why did You cause me to die as an infant and not let me grow up so that I could have believed in You and thus entered Jannah?” What will will Allah Ta’ala say?”

Al-Jubba’i responded: “Allah Ta’ala will say to him: “I knew that had you grown up, you would have been disobedient and thus would have entered the fire of Jahannam, so it was best for you to have died as an infant.”

Imaam al-Ash’ari asked him, “What if the second brother (who was disobedient to Allah Ta’ala and was sent to Jahannam) says: “O Allah, why did You not let me also pass away as an infant, so that I would not have been disobedient and thus would not have entered the fire of Jahannam?

Al-Jubba’i was running helter skelter for a response!

After that Imaam al-Ash’ari abandoned his teacher and abandoned the false Madhab of the Mu’tazilah and he and those with him devoted their time and energy in refuting the view and arguments of the Mu’tazilah sect, and establishing that which has reached us from the Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, upon which the Sahabah Radhiyallahu Anhum were upon and thus were named: “Ahlus Sunnah wal- Jamaa’ah”

Source : Sharh Al-Aqeedah An-Nasafiyyah

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