Observing religious life in the world in recent years, we have witnessed a shift in community disputes. If the first race conflict caused more differences of opinion in jurisprudence (fiqh), it is now a lot more going on around creed (aqeedah). Seizure of who is entitled to claim the predicate of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah ensued. Salafiyyah admitted, it is they who became the successor creed of salafus Salih, the first three generations of this Ummah (Companions, Tabi’in and Tabi’it Tabi’in). They accuse the followers of Asha’ira and Maturidiyyah have gone astray from the right path, because they adopted the methodology of Kalam and Philosophy of Science, which had never been known at the time of the Prophet PBUH, the Companions and the four Imams. Plus, because they, according to Salafiyyah, have rejected the attributes of God that must to Him. This very serious claim then gave birth to both skeptical and intolerance questions. Such as: whether the followers of Asha’ira belonged to the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah? Whether they were among the survivors (al-firqoh an-najiah)? Is it forbidden to work with them or hire them? And whether hanging out with them, including to providing loyalty (wala) to non-Muslims?
The followers of Asha’ira in turn respond back. That the title of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah become core followers of this community. They are legitimate bearers of the aqeedah of righteous ones, and the four Imams. Instead, the mention of a community by the name of Salafiyyah is one innovation, because it was totally unknown at the time of the Prophet, also the friends and the key first generations. Yes, following the footsteps of the early generations of people (Salaf) is a must, but exploiting them to market creed tajsim or tasybih who personified God with all new, with cover to set properties (ithbat) which physically predetermined Allah and His Messenger, is the claim which cannot be justified. He is seen as heresy Wahhabis of Najd which started being sold to various corners of the earth.
Of the claims that later appeared tafsiq, tadlil and takfir; accusing the other party has a wicked, perverse and even kafeer. These claims are clearly a very serious excesses, beyond dispute the people in the field of jurisprudence. Therefore, discussing the topic of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah development requires us to set forth clear conception of this creed. In order divisions can be overcome, slander people not enlarged, and wihdatul ummah materialized.
Therefore, this paper will answer some important questions:
- What is called the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah? And whether Ahlul Hadeeth (Atsariyyah), Asha’ira and Maturidiyyah fall into that category?
- What is the attitude of the ahlus Salaf (ie the Companions, Tabi’in, Tabi’it Tabi’in) and great scholars, in responding verses and hadiths mutashabihat and nature? Because the issue takwil a major problem that triggered the conflict above.
- Could it be that the scholars Asha’ira and their scientific products ignored? And whether we can take Islam without referring to the treasures of their science?
- Any classification of areas of faith, so that the issue of kufr, fasiq, deviant and heretical can be placed in proportion? Thus allowing a Muslim to give tolerance and coexistence in the midst of a legitimate diversity of views within Islam.
Who are Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah?
As the name implies, this community has two main characters: compliance with the sunnah and loyalty to the congregation, namely the companions of the Prophet and the generations that followed their tracks well.
Muhammad Ibn Sirin (d. 110 H) was the first to use the term Ahlul Sunnah as opposed to ahlul bid’ah whose transmission should not be taken. Imam Muslim in authentic book noted, when Ibn Sirin says: “Surely this science is a religion, look from whom you take your religion”, “In the past they did not ask about the chain of transmission. But when the defamation occurred, they said, mention to us from whom did you get that story? If they are ahlul sunnah they take their hadith, if ahlul bid’ah, the hadiths are not taken.”
That attitude was a response of defamation that occurred after the murder of Ali bin Abi Thalib. At that time, the people splintered into factions, and some groups tried to reinforce his views by innovating in religion. Therefore, the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah is the people who follow manhaj salafussolih, who cling to the Qur’an and Sunnah narrated from the Prophet and his companions, and to distinguish those people who do innovation in religion and follow their lusts (Ahl-ul-bida ‘wal ahwa).
Ahlul Hadeeth, Asha’ira and Maturidiyyah:
Category of Ahlus Sunnah is certainly not singular. Demanding the people to be uniform in all things is impossible. An understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah has opened opportunities to differences in the region of dzonny, both dilalah (meaning) and its tsubut (authentication of hadith). And the territory is not only happening in the study of jurisprudence, but also creed/ aqeedah. Nevertheless, there are clear fundamental issues agreed by Ahlul Sunna. Tajuddin As-Subki (727-771 H), as quoted by Al-Mutadho az-Zubaidi (1732-1790 AD) in the Al-Sadah Ithafus Muttaqin Sharh Ihya Ulumuddin, leaves a comment about Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. According to him, Ahlussunnah wal Jama’ah agree on the same beliefs about the issues that must and impossible for God. Although they are different in ways and principles (mabadi) that deliver on that belief. They consist of three groups:
- Ahlul Hadeeth, their principles are taken from the arguments sam’iyyat, namely the Quran, Sunnah and ijma.
- Rationalists (Ahlun nadzor al-aqli wa as-shina’ah al-fikriyyah), who seek to strengthen matters in faith with rationality approaches within the framework of the Quran, Sunnah and ijma. They are Asha’ira and Hanafiyya. Shaykh Asha’ira is Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari, and Shaykh al Hanafiyya is Abu Mansoor Al-Maturidi.
- Expert mysticism or Sufism Sunni, like Al-Junaid, Ma’ruf Al-Kurkhy, Bishr al-Hafi, Ibrahim ibn Adham and others. Because the first step is an effort to strengthen their religious views through the approach of rationality and hadith, despite ending with kasyaf and inspiration.
If the division of the As-Subki of the Asya’irah refers Ahlul Hadeeth as part of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah, then the As-Safarini of the Hanbali is more definitive calling Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal from the Al-tsariyyah (another term Ahlul Hadeeth) as part of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. So that according to as-Safarini, Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah is composed of three groups, namely:
- Al-Atsariyyah, their imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
- Al-Asha’ira, their imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari.
- Al-Maturidiyyah, their imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi.
Senior student Islamic Studies IOU & MBA 2017, Sabanci University