Ibn Fūrāk, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Fūrāk, Abū
Bakr al-Asbahānī al-Shāfi`ī (d. 406), the Imām and foremost specialist
of kalām and usūl, transmitter of al-Ash`arī's school,
specialist of Arabic language, grammar and poetry, orator, jurist,
and hadīth scholar. He studied doctrine under al-Ash`arī's companion,
Abū al-Hasan al-Bāhilī, and Abū `Uthmān al-Maghribī who stipulated,
before his death, that Ibn Fūrāk lead the funeral prayer over him.
Ibn Fūrāk taught al-Qushayrī and al-Bayhaqī who cite him frequently
in al-Risāla and al-Asmā' wa al-Sifāt
respectively. He fought and defeated the anthropomorphist Karrāmiyya
in Rayy then went to Naysabūr where he trained generations of fuqahā'
at a school founded for him, an expansion of Abū al-Hasan al-Bushanji's
earlier Sūfī school (khānqah). He brought to Naysabūr the transmissions
of the narrators of Basra and Baghdād and authored numerous books
in various disciplines.
`Abd al-Ghaffār ibn Ismā`īl said: "Ibn Fūrāk's works in usūl al-dīn, usūl
al-fiqh, and the meanings of the Qur'ān count nearly one hundred
volumes." Among them: Mujarrad
Maqālāt al-Ash`arī and Mushkal
Bayanuh, in which he refuted both the anthropomorphist tendencies
of Hanbalī literalists and the over-interpretation of the Mu`tazila.
Ibn Fūrāk said that he embarked on the study of kalām
because of the hadīth reported from the Prophet - Allah bless and
greet him -: "The Black Stone is the right hand of Allāh Most
High" which a mutakallim
explained to his satisfaction in contrast to the fuqahā'.
Upon returning from Ghazna after the failure of the Karrāmiyya to
have him executed by the Sultan - after the latter questioned him
then exonerated him of the charges they had brought against him
- he fell on the road, poisoned.
He was carried back to Naysabūr and buried in al-Hira. Ibn `Asākir
relates that his grave is a place of visitation where one seeks
healing (istishfā') and one's prayer is answered.
Abū `Alī al-Daqqāq was heard supplicating on
behalf of a number of a people and was asked: "Why do you not
supplicate on behalf of Ibn Fūrāk?" He replied: "How can
I supplicate on his behalf when only yesterday I implored Allāh
to cure me for the sake of Ibn Fūrāk!"
Al-Dhahabī in his cursory notice on Ibn Fūrāk mentioned spurious
derogatory reports from Ibn Hazm - without questioning nor commenting
them in the least - whereby Ibn Fūrāk said that the Prophet - Allah
bless and greet him - is no longer a Prophet after his death and
other things which entail disbelief then stated: "But Ibn Fūrāk
was better than Ibn Hazm, of greater stature, and better belief." Ibn al-Subkī showed that these were
anti-Ash`arī fabrications falsely attributed to Ibn Fūrāk, al-Ash`arī,
and his companions and declared false by al-Qushayrī and Ibn al-Salāh. Ibn al-Subkī further relates that Ibn Fūrāk considered
a disbeliever whoever said that the Prophet - Allah bless and greet
him - is no longer a Prophet.
Furthermore Ibn Fūrāk said: "The Ash`arī doctrine is that our
Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - is alive in his grave and
is the Messenger of Allāh - Allah bless and greet him - forever
until the end of time, literally, not metaphorically, and that he
was a Prophet when Adam was between water and clay, and his prophethood
remains until now, and shall ever remain." Finally, Ibn al-Subkī took al-Dhahabī to task
for his ambiguity: "As for his declaring that Ibn Fūrāk was
better than Ibn Hazm, it is a matter for Allāh Most High, and we
ask our Shaykh: If Ibn Fūrāk truly said this, then there is no good
in him at all; and if he did not, then why did you not clarify it
lest someone be misled by this report?!"
The martyred Imām Abū al-Hajjāj Yūsuf ibn Dūnas al-Findalawī al-Mālikī
mentioned that Ibn Fūrāk never slept in a house that contained a
volume of the Qur'ān, but would go and sleep somewhere else out
of respect. Among his
* "Every instance in which you see scholarly endeavor but upon
which there is no light: know that it is a hidden innovation (bid`a khafiyya)." Ibn al-Subkī said: "This is truly well-said
and shows the great refinement of the Teacher. Its foundation is
the saying of the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him -: `Virtue
is what sets the soul at rest."
* "It is impermissible for the walī to know that he is a walī
because it annuls his fear and imposes self-security upon him."
Abū `Alī al-Daqqāq considered it permissible. Al-Qushayrī said:
"And this is what we prefer, and choose, and declare."
Ibn al-Subkī said: "Abū al-Qāsim is right without the shadow
of a doubt, for knowledge of one's wilāya does not do away with
one's fear of Allāh, nor knowledge of one's Prophethood. Indeed,
are the most fearful of Allāh of all people, yet they know that
they are Prophets. And the walī does not cease to fear the design
of Allāh as long as he lives, and this is the greatest proof of
fear. `Umar said: 'If one of my feet were inside Paradise and the
other still outside, I would not feel secure from the design of
Allāh Most High.'"
The Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - described the "friends
of Allāh" (awliyā')
as "Those who, when you see them, remind you of Allāh" while `Alī ( exclaimed: "Ah! how one yearns
to see them!" Al-Qushayrī defined the walī as "One whose
obedience attains permanence without the interference of sin; or
one whom Allāh Most High preserves and guards, in permanent fashion,
from the failures of sin through the power of acts of obedience:
He befriends the righteous (7:196)." Their position in relation to Allāh on the Day
of Judgment is described as an object of desire for the Prophets
in the authentic narrations. One hadīth
qudsī states: "Those who love one another for the sake
of My Majesty shall have pulpits of light and the Prophets and martyrs
shall yearn to be in their position." Another narration states: "Truly Allāh has
servants whom He shall seat on pulpits of light, and their faces
shall completely overcome the fire of hell until the judgment of
creatures is concluded." The following are longer versions of the same
hadīth as narrated respectively by Abū Hurayra and Abū Mālik al-Ash`arī:
[Abū Hurayra:] The Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - said: "Truly
there are servants, among the servants of Allāh, that are not Prophets
but whom the Prophets and martyrs yearn to be like." Someone
asked: "Who are they so that we may love them?" He said:
"They are a folk who loved one another with the light of Allāh,
without kinship nor affiliation. Their faces are light on pulpits
of light. They shall not fear when all people fear, nor shall
they grieve when all people grieve." Then he recited: The
Friends of Allāh! Truly no fear shall there be for them, nor shall
they grieve (10:62).
[Abū Mālik:] When the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - finished
hisprayer he turned facing the people and said: "O people!
Listen to this, understand it, and know it. Allāh has servants who
are neither Prophets nor
martyrs and whom the Prophets and martyrs yearn to be like, due
to their seat and proximity in relation to Allāh." One of the
Bedouin Arabs who came from among the most isolated of people twisted
his hand at the Prophet -
Allah bless and greet him - and said: "O Messenger of Allāh!
People from humankind who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and yet
the Prophets and the martyrs yearn to be like them due to their
seat and proximity in relation to
Allāh? Describe them for us!" The face of the Prophet - Allah
bless and greet him - showed delight at the question and he said:
"They are of the strangers from here and there. They frequent
this tribe or that without belonging to any of them. They do not
have family connections with each other. They love one another for
the sake of Allāh. They are of pure intent towards one another.
On the Day of Resurrection Allāh shall place for them pedestals
of light upon which He shall seat them, and He will turn their faces
and clothes into light. On the Day of Resurrection the people will
be terrified but not those. They are the Friends of Allāh upon
whom fear comes
not, nor do they grieve (10:62)."