Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbh is a critique, censure, and refutation of the historical anthropomorphic leanings of some of the Hanbali scholars and learned. At the same time, it is a vindication of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal from the accusations of the anthropomorphism as well as the claim by some Hanbalis, that he adopted anthropomorphic beliefs, similar to theirs. Unmistakably, this work is a polemical commentary on the problematic Qur’anic verses and hadiths that fall under the mutashabih (allegorical and ambiguous) Qur’anic verses and prophetic traditions composed by the author, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH), the author of the well-acclaimed book, Talbis Iblis (The Devils’ Deception).
Unlike other books of this genre, this book is significant in that Ibn al-Jawzi offers an incisive critique of scholars of his own school, for which in return, Ibn al-Jawzi was criticized by those Hanbali and Hanbali-leaning proponents.
This book is important for anyone who is constantly indulged in discussions and the study of polemical theology (kalam) and scriptural interpretation (ta’wil), but still have been unable to gain clarity concerning the reality and permissibility of ta’wil of the verses commonly referred to as ‘The Attributes Verses’ (Ayat Al-Sifat).
The appendix further clarifies the issue of scriptual interpretation, figurative language in both the Qur’an and Sunnah (Majaz), the proper intent behind the statement made by the salaf, & ‘bila kayf’ (Without ‘How’ as opposed to ‘Without Modality or Description’), and an investigation into the ascription of Kitab al-Ibana to Imam Al-Ash’ari.
Readers who will derive the most benefit from this book are those who have been actively involved in the study of matters of interpretation and polemical theology. It also serves as an indispensable primer into one of the greatest debates that continued throughout much of Islam’s medieval period, namely that of understanding the attributes of God.
‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanbali(509/510-597) The imam of Hanbalis, a hadith master, philologist, commentator of Qur’an, expert jurist, physician, and historian of superb character and exquisite manners. Jamal al-Din Abu’ I-Faraj ‘Abu al-Rahman b. Ali, popularly known as Ibn al-Jauzi, was a prolific author of over seven hundred books, his works included theological, historical, biographical, medical, philological, and entertaining – of which several have been printed in recent times. He was famous as a preacher and the traveler Ibn Jubair gives an enthusiastic account of two of his sermons heard in Baghdad. Ibn al-Jawzi is famous for the theological stance that he took against other Hanbalites of the time, in particular Ibn al-Zaghuni and al-Qadi Abu Ya’la. He believed that these and other Hanbalites had gone to extremes in affirming God’s Attributes, so much so that he accused them of tarnishing the reputation of Hanbalites and making it synonymous with extreme anthropomorphism. Ibn al-Jawzi believed that Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal himself disapproved of such theology. Ibn al-Jawzi’s most famous work in this regard is his Daff’ Shubah al-Tashbih (also incorrectly printed under the title al-Baz al-Ashhab al-Munqaddu ala Mukhalifi al-Madhhab.
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is a senior faculty member of Zaytuna College specializing in Islamic Law and Legal Philosophy. He is a lifelong student of the Islamic tradition being born to Muslim parents having begun a serious study of Islam in his early teens. He attended Temple University for 2 years (1995-1997) prior to pursuing studies that culminated in a 4-year collegiate license (ijaza ‘ulya) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fes, Morocco (1997-2001). He has also served as adjunct professor of Arabic at UC Berkeley (2013), and adjunct professor of Intro to Islam at the Graduate Theological Union (2014). He holds a BA (ijaza ‘ulya) in Islamic Law (Shar’ia) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fez, Morocco, an MA in Ethics & Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union, and is involved in PhD dissertation work in Cultural & Historical Studies of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley). Among his publications and many scholarly essays are: The Attributes of God (Amal Press), A Return to Purity in Creed (Lamppost Productions), “Preserving the Freedom for Faith: Reevaluating the Politics of Compulsion”, (The Review of Faith & International Affairs, Vol 9, Monday 12 June 2011), “Scholarly Consensus: Between Use & Misuse”, (Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, Volume 12, Issue 2, 2010), and “The Homosexual Challenge to Muslim Ethics” (Lamppost Educational Initiative).
Author: Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi
Translator: Abdullah bin Hamid ‘Ali
Publisher: Amal Press
Year Published: 2006
Length: 9.1 in
Width: 6.1 in
Height: 0.6 in