Basran Mu'tazilite Theology: Abu 'Ali Muhammad b. Khallad's Kitab al-Usul and Its Reception.

AuthorDhanani, Alnoor
PositionBook review

Basran Mu'tazilite Theology: Abu 'Ali Muhammad b. Khallad's Kitab al-Usul and Its Reception. Edited by CAMILLA ADANG; WILFERD MADELLING: and SABINE SCHMIDTKE. Islamic History and Civilization. vol. 85. Leiden: BRILL, 2011. Pp. iv + 8 + 306 (Arabic). $170.

The Mu'tazila based their theological system on five principles (usul al-khamsa): God's unity and uniqueness (tawhid), God's justice ('adl), the promise and the threat (al-wa'd wa-l-wd'id), the intermediate position (al-manzila bayna al-manzilatayn), and commanding good and refraining from evil (al-amr bi-l-md'ruf wa-l-nahy 'an al-munkar). This well-known formulation, attributed to AN 1-Hudhayl (d. 226/841), is attested in many texts. Yet its detailed exposition had to await the discovery and publication of Mu'tazili texts following the Egyptian expedition to Yemen in the 1950s. Of these, the best known is (Abd al-Jabbar's Mughni where these live principles are collapsed into the first two principles of tawhid and 'adl. In contrast the Sharh Usul al-khamsa, published in 1965 by 'Abd al-Karim 'Uthman and attributed to 'Abd al-Jabbar (d. 415/1025), preserves the five-principle framework. In his "Les usal al-khamsa du Qadi 'Abd al-Gabbar et leurs commentaires" (Annales Islamologiques 15 [1979]). Daniel Gimaret challenged the attribution to 'Abd al-Jabbar and showed that the Sharh was actually Td'lig sharh Usul al-khwnsa by 'Abd al-Jabbar's Zaydi student Mankdim Shashdiv (d. 425/1034). Gimaret clarified the obscurities surrounding works on the five principles, identifying authors, titles, and manuscripts as well as textual and teacher-student relationships, beginning with Usul al-khamsa of Ibn Khallad (fl. ca. 330/941), a disciple of Abu Hashim al-Jubba'i (d. 321/933), and continuing to al-Qasim al-Mutialli's commentary on Mankdim's Ta'liq, written between 700-50/1300-49. Gimaret also referred to the "longish" commentary on Ibn Khaliad's entitled Ziyadat sharh al-Usul and its contents, noting that this text was described by Wilferd Madelung in his Der Imam al-Qasim b. Ibrahim and die Glaubenslehre der Zaiditen. It is this text that has now been edited and published by Camilla Adang, Wilferd Madelung, and Sabine Schmidtke.

As the editors note, the Ziyadat is a composite text of several layers. The earliest layer contains quotations from Ibn al-Khallad's Kitab al-Usul or his incomplete auto-commentary Shari al-Usul. Subsequent layers consist of quotations from 'Abd al-Jabbar's Takmilat al-Shark...

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