Hanbali vs ‘Ashari Tafwidh – Selections from Hashiyah al-Muwaffaq ala Lum’ah al-Muwaffaq


وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم, ما بعد

Here are some pictures I took from a recently published commentary on Hanbali aqida (book cover as well, if interested).

These pages, 10-12, show the Hanbali position on tafwidh and where they (supposedly) disagree with the Ash’aris.

This is easily refuted though because they both nearly agree.

The argument he writes against the later Ash’ari school’s type of tafwidh, tafwidh tafseeli, is actually a strawman. If you read their works they use ambiguous language to say “it could mean this,” not “it does mean this and that’s it, concrete. Qati’i.” They do not say that, the language the Asharis use clearly indicates it’s ambiguous (IE a possible meaning), and he states in the commentary on page 11 that the Hanbalis don’t really have an issue with this actually. The Hanbalis themselves actually do assign a possible meaning to the whole ayah, but then again, the later Ashari school does the same thing.

So what’s the difference? Ex: They just don’t say what the yad could possibly mean, but they do actually do ta’wil of the whole ayah as a possible meaning. The early Asharis do not do this, they just do tafwidh bil ma’ana (resign the meaning to Allah, reject tashbih, and reject ta’til – same as the Hanabila). The latter Asharis did some ta’wil, sometimes for the whole ayah, and sometimes for what a particular word could possibly mean, of course never claiming to know what Allah ta’ala meant by it. It’s always zhanni.

So, in essence, there’s no real disagreement. The Hanbalis would just cease from saying what a particular word could specifically mean, and the latter ‘Ash’ari school does. They both agree that we do not know what Allah ta’ala truly meant. And they both do tafwidh, which is what most followers of these schools do and many (perhaps most) scholars as well.

Sheikh Walead Mosaad makes that very clear in his lectures (he taught a book recently of which the first half is some ‘Ash’ari creed here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEvOqd1-Fz8igSLj8JimnygAUw7yNU6rB).

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