Imam Ibn Kullab [RH] - Sunni Theologian From the Salaf

Discussion in 'Siyar an-Nubala' started by faqir, Jul 1, 2011.

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  1. faqir

    faqir Veteran

    Imam Ibn Kullab

    His name:

    He is Abu Muhammad Abdallah b. Sa’id b. Muhammad b. Kullab al-Qattan al-Tamimi al-Basri, known as Abdallah b. Sa’id b. Kullab or simply Ibn Kullab.

    His Life:

    He was one of the major sunni theologians from the era of the salaf. He belonged to the generation of al-Harith al-Muhasibi, Ahmad b. Hanbal and Ishaq b. Rahawayh. His year of birth is unknown, but he lived prior to al-Ma’mun’s Khilafah. He successfully debated the Mu’tazilah, the Jahmiyyah and others – and he wrote against them.

    His Books:

    He has a number of works that are documented such as "Kitab al-Sifat", "Khalq Af'al" and "al-Radd 'ala al-Mu'tazilah". These books are lost, however remnants of them can be found in other works such as al-Maqalat of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, and also in the works of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim. He is also quoted by the early Ash'ari Scholars such as Ibn Fawrak (d. 406H), and some of them, such as "Kitab al-Sifat" are mentioned by Ibn an-Nadim (d. 385H) in his "Fihrist" (Catalogue), who referred to him as a "From amongst the Hashawi riff raff". Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani explained this statement in "Lisan al-Mizan" saying “What he means is that [a Ḥashawī is] whoever is upon the way of the Salaf by abandoning figurative interpretation of the verses and Ḥadīth reports about the Divine attributes; they are also called the people of non-committal [mufawwiḍa]”

    The Scholars' Praise for him:

    Imam Al-Taj Al-Subki says in his Tabaqat, “and Ibn Kullab in any case is from the Ahlus Sunnah… the father of Imam Razi, Diya al-Din al-Khatib, mentioned Ibn Sa’id (ibn Kullab) in the end of his book ‘Ghayatul Maram fi ‘Ilm al-Kalam’ that from the scholastic theologians of Ahl al-Sunnah in the days of al-Ma’mun was ‘Abdullah bin Sa’id at-Taymi who destroyed the Mu’tazilites in the gatherings of al-Ma’mun…”

    Ibn ‘Asakir in Tibyan writes regarding Ibn Abi Zayd’s, known as the Little Malik, epistle to Ibn Isma’il al-Baghdadi al-Mu’tazili, “and you’ve attributed Ibn Kullab to Bida’, and then you didn’t mention anything that would be known as bida’ such that it be called bida’. And what has reached us is that he was a follower of Sunnah and took to refuting the Jahimites and others from the people of bida’h.”

    Ibn Qadi Shuhbah writes in his Tabaqat, “He was from the great scholastic theologians and from the Ahl al-Sunnah, his path and that of Al-Harith al-Muhasibi, Imam Ashari’ followed.”

    Jamal al-Din al-Isnawi in Tabaqat as-Shafi’iyah writes, “He was from the great scholastic theologians and from the Ahl al-Sunnah…. Al-‘Ibadi mentions him in the Tabaqah (rank in regards to level of students) of Abi Bakr Al-Sayrifi that he said, “He is from our companions the Mutakallimin”.

    Imam Dhahabi in Siyar writes, “The man is closest of the scholastics theologians to the Sunnah rather he’s from their Munatharihim”. Shaykh Shu’ayb al-Arnaout writes under Imam Dhahabi’s comments, “He was an Imam of the people of Sunnah in his time and was their source. Imam al-Haramayn described him in al-Irshad as him being from “our companions”.”

    ‘Allamah Ibn Khuldun writes, “until Shaykh Abul Hasan al-Ashari came on the scene… he was on the path of ‘Abdillah bin Sa’id bin Kullab and Abi al-‘Abbas al-Qalanisi and al-Harith al-Muhasibi from the followers of Salaf and on the path of Sunnah.”

    ‘Allamah Bayadi writes, “And Imam Abu Muhammed ‘Abdullah bin Sa’id al-Qattan preceded Imam Ashari in defending the madhab of Ahlus Sunnah.”

    Imam Abu Mansur 'Abd al-Qadir al-Baghdadi mentions that "another of the Kalam scholars in the time of Al Ma`mun is Abdullah ibn Sa`id Al Tamimi, who crushed the Mu`tazilah in the assembly of Al Ma`mun, and scandalized them with his eloquent exposure and clarification of their faults."

    The Accusations Against him:

    This is summed up in Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr's biographical notice on al-Karābisī:

    Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Kathīr also said in his biographical entry for al-Karābisī:

    Imam al-Bukhari said in Khalq Af'al al-Ibad :

    And Imam al-Kawthari has nicely summarised the issue saying:

    His Legacy:

    Imam al-Shahrastani said in Al-Milal wa al-Nihal

    And, Imam al-Ash'ari was not the only one to take from Ibn Kullab. Great `ulema of Ahl al-Sunna benefited from him. For example, al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani [rh] says in al-Fath al-Bari : volume 1 page 323:

    His direct students were also major 'ulema of Ahl al-Sunna in their own right. Imam Abu Mansur 'Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi mentions some of them in 'Usul al-Din':

    His death:

    He died in 240, or according to some in 241.

    May Allah have mercy upon his soul.

    [The above is not an original article but has been amalgamated from the following sources: Khadim al-Ulema blog, marifah website thread and, i've also used a pseudo-salafi's bio here and here and also the following article on the ulema of kalam.]

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