Category Archives: IV – The Start of Devation

A – Historical
B – Primary Groups of Kalam

The Start of Devation – Primary Groups of Kalam


The first group is the Kullabiyyah. They were founded by Abdullah ibn Kullaab (d. 241AH). They said 2 things which were in contrast to Ahlus-Sunnah. The first is that the Sifaat of Allah were all eternal, and nothing is fi’liyyah. They denied Attributes linked to the Divine Will. This led them to deny istiwaa (Allah rising over the Throne) and nuzool (Allah’s descent). The second thing they deviated in was regarding the Attribute of Kalam (speech) for Allah. They did not believe Allah could speak when He wanted, as that would make the Attribute fi’liyyah. So they said Allah is always speaking internally. The Quran therefore, according to them, was simply an expression of this speech, and that Allah never spoke the Quran. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal told his students to boycott ibn Kullab. The Kullabiyyah lived for barely one generation and evolved into the Ash’aris.

Ash’ariyyah (Ash’aris)

They were founded by Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari (d. 324AH). He went through 3 major time periods in his life, 1) Student of his step-father al-Jubba’i as a Mu’tazilah, 2) follower of ibn Kullab (most of his writings are from this period), and 3) a follower of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and this is when he wrote al-Ibaanah.

After he freed himself from the Mu’tazili beliefs, he began expounding on ibn Kullab’s books. At the end of his life he repented from it and wrote al-Ibaanah and said he was upon the beliefs of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. He died shortly after this, and most of his followers took the teachings from the second period of his life.

It should be noted that many Ash’aris claim he did not write al-Ibaanah, but this is disproved by even Ash’ari historians who count it amongst his works. Another group of them tried to say he was forced to write it under duress, but this is a seemingly wild accusation without any basis.

Among the major beliefs of the Ash’aris is that they affirmed only 7 of Allah’s Attributes, namely Life (Hayat), Power (Qudrah), Knowledge (’Ilm), Hearing (Sam’), Seeing (Basr), and Speech (kalam). The kalam they believed in though, was the ‘internal’ kalam.



They were founded by Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333AH). They came after the Ash’aris and are extremely similar except for a few technical differences and a difference in the belief in Qadr.


The Start of Devation – Historical

The first 5 major deviations of Islam were that of the Khawaarij (many of the modern ‘terrorist’ groups carry their characteristics), Rafidah (Shiah), Qadariyyah (referenced in the first hadith found in Sahih Muslim), Murji’ah, and the Mu’tazilah (rationalists).


Three of the main people who were the figureheads of the deviant groups are, Wasil bin Ataa (d. 131AH), Ja’d bin Dirham (d. 110AH), and Jahm bin Safwan (d. 124AH). All 3 of these people were from Iraq.


Wasil is the main founder of the Mu’tazilah thought, and claimed that a faasiq (sinner) is not a believer or disbeliever, but in a ‘place between two places’ i.e. manzilah bayna manzilatayn.


Ja’d bin Dirham was the first person to claim that the Quran was created. He was also severely rebuked by Wahb ibn Munabbih for his questions regarding Allah’s Names and Attributes. Ja’d had only one student, Jahm bin Safwan.


Jahm was the first person to openly reject the Quran. He said emaan was to simply know that Allah existed (Iblees would be a mu’min under this definition). He also denied that Allah is above us, and said He is all around us like the air (a’udhubillah).


The most amazing aspect of this history though, is the following ‘chain’ of teachers of Jahm bin Safwan.


Jahm was a student of Ja’d, who was a student of Bayyan bin Sam’aan. Bayyan bin Sam’aan was actually one of the original figureheads of a Rafidi mujassima sect. He claimed that Allah had a body like a man, and that on Qiyamah it would all be destroyed except the face.


Bayyan was a student of Talut, a Jew who claimed the Tawrah was created. Talut, was a student of LABID BIN A’SAM, the one who tried to poison the Prophet(saw).


So you see the whole chain, Labid -> Talut -> Bayyan -> Ja’d -> Jahm.


Wasil bin Ataa was greatly influenced by some teachings of Jahm. Among the teachings that became characteristic of the Mu’tazilahs was that they denied alll Divine Attributes and claimed that the Names were meaningless (an important point to keep in mind when we get to tafweed). They claimed that man created his own actions (a belief of the Qadariyyah), and they were the primary group that studied philosophy and tried to incorporate it into Islam. Of Wasil’s well known students was Amr bin Ubayd (d. 143AH), and of the famous Mu’tazilahs after them was al-Jubba’i (d. 301AH). Al-Jubba’i is important because he married a woman who had a son from a previous marriage. That son was none other than Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari.

%d bloggers like this: