their use of allegorical interpretation (tawil) in dealing with the
Koranic verses concerning the divine attributes, Ibn Qudama
devotes the greater part of his treatise to its censure. His
objection to its use is not based merely on the rather negative
theory that the Ancestors made no use of it, but principally on
its evident censure, in no uncertain terms, in the Koran itself.
The principal evil of allegorical interpretation is that it leads
to the practice of stripping God of the attributes which He
attributed to Himself, and attributing to Him others which He
did not attribute to Himself, which, in fact, he denied of Himself.
Such is the evil which goes by the name of tatil and which
should be shunned. Other parts of the treatise deal with the
use of private judgment (ijtihad) in matters of religious belief,
the following of higher authority (taqlid) in these matters, the
credibility of isolated traditions (khabbar ahad), the defence of the
Hanbalite school against the accusation of anthropomorphism.
its partisans, the mutakallimun, known as one of the works of
the celebrated doctor of the Hanbalite theologico-juridical
school, Muwaffaq ad-Dln b. Qudama, has not heretofore
been known to be extant. An edition and translation, based
on a unique manuscript preserved in the Asafiya Library,
Haidarabad, are offered in the following pages. The author
has recently been the subject of a brief, but excellent, biographical
study. Therefore, except for some significant dates in the
author’s life, and a few remarks on some of his works, this
introduction will be devoted entirely to his present work.
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