AoEJ: Academy of Education Journal
Vol. 14 No 2 Tahun 2023
Muhammad Nasir
, Muhammad Ramadhani
, Muhammad Iqbal
, Subban
1, 2, 3, 4
STAI AL-Hikmah Medan
This century is famous for three mainstream schools in the history of Islamic thought, namely; first,
the school of Islamic philosophers who only understand Islamic beliefs. Second, the Salafiyah school
is very textual. Third, the Mu'tazilah school is a school that combines reason and naql while still
making reason the determining factor when there are texts that conflict with the truths of reason
(logic). Al-Asy'ari was originally one of the followers of the Mu'tazilah school until he was 40 years
old. Furthermore, he formed formulas and patterns of thought that were different from the three
schools of thought and he tried to combine the functions of both reason and texts while still providing
guidelines that in fact reason must submit to texts.
Keywords: Ash'arian Theology, Qadhi Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 CC BY-SA International License.
The term al-Asy'ariah was specifically assigned to the followers of Abu Hasan Ali bin
Ismail al-Asy'ari, who later developed rapidly to become one of the important theological
schools of thought in Islam known as the Ash'arian school. Abu Hasan Ali bin Ismail al-
Asy'ari was recorded as living around 260-324 H or being born around the end of the third
century and died in the early fourth century H.
In this century, there are three main streams in the history of Islamic thought, namely;
First, the school of Islamic philosophers who only understand Islamic beliefs and defend
them must be based on reason and naql by relying on the truths of reason as the only source
of knowledge. Second, the Salafiyah school, this school was pioneered by Imam Ahmad bin
Hanbal. This school is very textual, that is, it only uses texts as the only axis and tool for
understanding Islamic beliefs. Third, the Mu'tazilah school is a school that combines reason
and naql while still making reason the determining factor when there are texts that conflict
with the truths of reason (logic).
Al-Asy'ari was originally one of the followers of the Mu'tazilah school until he was 40
years old. Furthermore, he formed formulas and patterns of thought that were different from
AoEJ: Academy of Education Journal
Vol. 14 No 2 Tahun 2023
the three schools of thought and he tried to combine the functions of both reason and texts
while still providing guidelines that in fact reason must submit to texts.
After the emergence of al-Ash'ari's thought, this method was eventually followed by
many scholars afterward and they attributed their opinions to al-Asy'ariah, those who
emerged in the later period had a role in developing al-Asy'ari's opinions by characteristic
of using rational logical arguments that intersect with the rationality of the Mu'tazilah school.
Among these figures is Qadhi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani.
1. Qadhi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani
a) Biography of Qadhi al-Baqillani
Muhammad bin Thayyib bin Muhammad bin Ja'far bin al-Qasim or better known as
al-Qadhi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani is one of the mutakallimin scholars. He is also known as an
expert in Ushul Fiqh. Born in Basrah and settled in Baghdad until the end of his life. As for
the year of his birth, there is no definite source that mentions it. Al-Baqillani died in 403 H
in Baghdad and was buried beside the tomb of Ahmad bin Hanbal in the Bab al-Harb
cemetery (al-Maraghi, 223).
Al-Baqillani had teachers from a number of scholars with various disciplines,
including: Abu Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ya'kub bin Mujahid al-Thai al-Maliki who
was a friend and student of al-Asy'ari. Next, Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Abhari
who is a faqih of the Maliki school of thought. And Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Ja'far bin Malik
al-Qathi'i. Ibn Kathir mentioned his specialty as an active writer, he would not even sleep
every night except after writing 20 pages (Katsir, 1986). And the works he has include: The
Book al-Tabshirah, Daqaiq al-Haqaiq, al-Tamhid fi Usul Fiqh, Syarh al-Ibanah, and so on.
In fact, al-Qadhi 'Ayyad stated that the number of al-Baqillani's works is as many as 99
books on theology, i'jaz , ushul fiqh, and the Koran, but only a small portion still exists today
(Subhi, 1992).
b) Its Influence in the Scope of al-Asy'ariyah Theology
In the muqaddimah Kitab al-Tamhid by al-Baqillani, as in Musa it is explained that
the biggest thought of al-Baqillani is to make a method and compile Asy'ari theology
systematically not only applying the method of dialectical logic but also laying down the
premise guidelines as the basis for the propositions postulate (Musa, 1975). It is because
of this role that he is called the second figure in al-Asy'ariah theology after its founder Abu
Hasan al-Asy'ari (Abdullah, 1986).
AoEJ: Academy of Education Journal
Vol. 14 No 2 Tahun 2023
Ibn Khaldun in his Muqaddimah mentions the influence of al-Baqillani in Asy'ari
theology in the form of method development, as follows: He (al-Baqillani) developed the
method or tariqah and laid down logical premises which became the main basis of the
arguments and theories , such as specifying void ( al-khala ) and primary substance ( al-
Jauhar al-fard ) along with accidents ( al-'ardh ) where it is impossible to stand on one
accident ( al-'ardh ), it is impossible to be two at the same time, and the like which form the
basis of their arguments. And making these rules the basis for setting obligations in
believing, because an error or incorrect argument means that what is the object of a
proposition is also incorrect. So this method is the best method in the theoretical and religious
sciences (Khaldun, 515).
c) The Theological Thoughts of Qadhi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani
1. The Form and Nature of God
The discussion regarding the existence of Allah, was started by al-Baqillani
with the determination of the renewal of nature. Nature which consists of al-jauar
and al-'ardh are both something new and something new must have brought it into
being, and the one who has brought it about is Allah.
As the reason, al-Baqillani provides evidence, among others, by stipulating that
Allah is qadim and nature is hadith (baharu). And something new must have someone
who does it, it's impossible for the same sex to come from a hadith or a new one, but
for sure it's something that is qadim , namely Allah SWT (al-Baqillani, 1986). This
is the argument used by al-Ash'ari and also his other followers.
As for the attributes of Allah SWT, al-Baqillani's determination is like what
has been mentioned in the Qur'an. For more details about al-Baqillani's opinion
regarding the attributes of Allah, there is a division of these characteristics into two
parts, namely; al-substance and af'al properties. The nature of al-substance is defined
as a property that cannot be separated from matter, the nature of al-'ilm, for example,
cannot be separated from the substance of Allah, who is al-'alim at any time, both
from the beginning of time and forever and ever. Things will be different from the
characteristics of al-af'al , namely the attributes of Allah which are closely related to
all his actions, this is because Allah swt. existed before the action existed (Subhi,
To clarify al-Baqillani's opinion regarding the relationship between substances
and properties, Mahmud Subhi explained that one of his (al-Baqillani's) features was
clarifying the meaning of existing terms in order to be able to determine what is
AoEJ: Academy of Education Journal
Vol. 14 No 2 Tahun 2023
desired. First, he made a distinction between al-shifah and al-washf. Al-Shifah is
something that is in the attribute (al-maushuf), and al-washf is the relationship
between al-shifah and al-maushuf. Al-shifah is sometimes only temporary for al-
maushuf such as black (al-sawad), white (al-bayadh), will (al-iradah), hate (al-
karahiyah), and sometimes al-shifah still accompanies and exists on al-maushuf, this
is where al-shifah becomes al-washf. So our words that Allah is alive (hayy), knows
('alim), has power (qadir), gives favors (mun'im), and so on are all explanations from
al-washf , and not al-shifah . With al-Baqillani's opinion, he has emerged from the
polemic between al-Ash'ari and Mu'tazilah about determining or not determining
attributes for God (Subhi, 1992).
2. Al-Ahwal 's theory
Harun Nasution is of the opinion that al-Baqillani is one of those who defines
al-hal as a substitute for character, like Abu Hasyim al-Juba'i from Mu'tazilah
(Nasution, 1986). In fact, Harun Nasution's opinion still needs to be examined
whether it is true that al-Baqillani's meaning is the same as what Abu Hasyim al-
Juba'i meant.
This is because in Kitab al-Tamhid, al-Baqillani specifically refutes Abu
Hasyim al-Juba'i about the theory of al-hal. Furthermore, it is possible that some
people think that al-Baqillani was among those who determined al-half. This
statement was conveyed by Ramadhan after reading books other than al-Tamhid
written by al-Baqillani. He explained his statement by mentioning the opinion
conveyed by Imam al-Haramain that al-Baqillani never hesitated between
establishing or rejecting al-things (Abdullah, 1986).
Even though Harun Nasution often cites several opinions, including that of al-
Syahrastani, the author does not see this as the case. This is because al-Syahrastani
mentions in the Book of al-Milal wa al-Nihal by quoting the words of al-Baqillani:
al-things determined by Abu Hasyim are what we call shifah (al-Syahrastani, 1986).
From the description above, it can be understood that al-Baqillani determines
the attributes of Allah besides determining al-things as well. As for Abu Hasyim al-
Juba'i as a follower of Mu'tazilah, he still denies nature, and he replaced this term
with the term al-hal. Abu Hasyim al-Juba'i stipulates that al-thing is a middle way
that can be taken to avoid the appearance of the attribute of Allah with qadim
qualities. Thus that the al-things meant by al-Baqillani are different from the al-
things meant by Abu Hasyim al-Juba'i.
AoEJ: Academy of Education Journal
Vol. 14 No 2 Tahun 2023
The meaning of al-hal according to Abu Hasyim al-Juba'i, that Allah is 'Alim
for His substance, which means that He has a condition that is a trait that is known
behind him as an existing substance, but precisely that trait can be known not to stand
alone, so ahwal are intangible, unknown and unknowable properties. Meanwhile,
according to al-Baqillani that al-things cannot be contradictory (Abdullah, 1986).
3. al-Kasb 's theory
Although the principles of al-kasb 's theory have been mentioned by al-Asy'ari,
in al-Baqillani's view the meaning of this theory has slightly shifted. Mahmud Subhi
stated that al-Baqillani developed this theory from the previous point where al-
Asy'ari did not mention the issue of the influence of new human power (hadith) on
human actions (al-kasb), but here al-Baqillani precisely stipulates that new human
power (hadith) has an influence on human actions (Subhi, 1992).
Al-Asy'ari believes that human power has no influence to manifest his actions,
because his power and will are the creations of Allah swt. This has been explained
by Allah in QS. az-Zumar verse 62 which reads:
Meaning: Say: "O my people, work according to your circumstances, in fact I will
work (too), then one day you will know. (QS. az-Zumar / 39: 62)
(Indonesia, 2004).
According to al-Asy'ari that the meaning of the verse is Allah who has created
all things. Al-Asy'ari provides an understanding of al-kasb is realizing the will in
action, namely Allah swt. creating power in humans is temporary related to deeds,
and this power does not have an essential effect in making it happen but it is the
power of God that gives the real effect. If so, where is the role of al-kasb here? To
this question al-Asy'ari does not give a convincing answer (Abdullah, 1986).
Meanwhile, al-Baqillani still adheres to the theory of al-kasb in general,
namely that it is Allah who creates human actions. However, he further clarified his
statement by emphasizing that human actions are created due to the influence of two
powers, namely the power of God and the power of created humans. God's power
influences actions (al-fi'l) and human power affects the realization of deeds. This
action then becomes the measure of whether it is good or bad, gets rewarded or gets
punishment (al-Taftazaniy, 1989).
This is what shows the difference between al-Baqillani and al-Asy'ari in the
theory of al-kasb. Regarding the scope of how human influence in realizing his
AoEJ: Academy of Education Journal
Vol. 14 No 2 Tahun 2023
actions. Al-Baqillani tends to see that humans have an effective contribution in
realizing their actions, while al-Asy'ari does not see the true influence of humans.
From the explanation above regarding the thoughts of Qadhi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani
who is a figure of Asy'ari theology, it can be concluded that Qadhi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani or
commonly referred to as al-Baqillani is one of the figures of Ash'arian theology who has an
important role in developing methods and objects, by incorporating philosophic discussions
and methods into discussions of Ash'ari theology while still adhering to the general
principles of Ash'aria theology, namely determining the nature of God.
Al-Baqillani in his attempt to determine the nature of God turns out to be more rational
by including the differences between al-shifat and al-washf and giving his own meaning to
the theory of al-thing. He also gave a clear statement about the theory of al-kasb which is
the opinion of al-Asy;ari by providing an effective role for human power in realizing his
Abdullah Mustafa al-Maraghi, Al-Fath al-Mubin fi Tabaqat al-Ushuliyyin, Juz I, (Kairo:
Abd al-Hamid Hanafi,, h. 233.
Ibnu Katsir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Juz VII, (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1986), h. 112.
Ahmad Mahmud Subhi, Fi ‘Ilm al-Kalam, Juz II, (Alexandria: Muassasah al-Tsaqafah al-
Jam’iyah, 1992), h. 94.
Jalal Muhammad Abd Hamid Musa, Nasy ‘at al-Asy’ariah wa Tathawwuruha, (Beirut: Dar
al-Kitab al-Lubnani, 1975), h. 320.
Muhammad Ramadhan Abdullah, Al-Baqillani wa Arauhu al-Kalamiah, (Baghdad:
Mathba’ah al-Ummah, 1986), h. 138.
Ibn Khaldun, Al-Muqaddimah, (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr,, h. 515.
Abu Bakr al-Baqillani, Al-Inshaf, (Beirut: ‘Alam kutub, 1986), h. 43-48.
Harun Nasution, Teologi Islam: Aliran-aliran Sejarah Analisa Perebandingan, (Jakarta:
Universitas Indonesia, 1986), h. 71.
Abu Fath Muhammad bin Abd al-Karim al-Syahrastani, Al-Milal wa al-Nihal, Juz I, (Beirut:
Dar Sha’ab, 1986), h. 95.
Departemen Agama RI, Alquran dan Terjemahnya, (Bandung: Diponegoro, 2004), h. 465.
Al-Imam Mas’ud bin Umar bin Abdullah Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazaniy, Syarh al-Maqasid, Juz
IV, (Beirut: ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1989), h. 223.