Uthman Ad-Darimi and Faulty Logic

By Shaykh Hafiz Mahmut, slightly edited by the MuslimAnswers.net Team

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

Abu Said Uthman ad-Darimî, who is one of the prominent names among the “Ahl ul-Hadith” proponents, wrote a critique called Naqdh ‘Ala Bishr al-Marisi (Replying to Bishr al-Marisi). In that book he makes Takfeer (anathematization) on Bishr, and the proponents of the Muta’zilah and the Jamiyah groups who view the Qur’an as being Makhlooq (a created entity).

Ad-Darimi makes a comparison between Bishr and others to polytheists (Mushrikoon). This is because, in his view, polytheists claimed that the Qur’an is the word of a created being. So ad-Darimi interprets the view of the Qur’an being created as a repetition and similar to the words of those polytheists. According to ad-Darimi, the word ‘Makhlooq’ (created) is the same as the words of polytheists whether it is used as a metaphor or in a literal sense.

In his eyes then, there is no difference between the Mu’tazila who said that the Qur’an is a created entity and the polytheists of Makkah who said that Mohammad ﷺhad made it up and had tried to portray it as the word of Allah. Hence the verses revealed in response to the allegations of polytheists are also valid for the Mu’tazilah. This kind of approach is openly used in Naqdh by taking the verses for polytheists and using them against Mu’tazilah to accuse them in a very harsh manner.

The accusation by ad-Darimi is in fact based on a very fallacious rationale and a flawed thought process. Ad-Darimi says that ‘Walid bin Mughira who was from the Makkan Mushrikoon claimed that the Qur’an were the words of a created being. Today, Bishr and Jahm are also saying the same things, and this is because the words of a created being are created, and there is no doubt about that!

Let’s analyze the thought process of ad-Darimi in order to see how this logic can easily be shown to be fallacious. It is alleged by ad-Darimi that the notion of the Qur’an being created (Makhlooq) is the same as saying that the Qur’an is the word of a created being (Bashar). Hence ad-Darimi’s reasoning for this accusation is that the word of a created being (Bashar) is itself created (Makhlooq).

So the thought process can be represented for ad-Darimi as:

  • For all of us (including Bishr), the word of a created being (bashar) is also created.
  • The Qur’an is created (Makhlooq) according to Bishr.
  • Thus, according to Bishr, the Qur’an is the word of a created being.

Based on the previous statements, ad-Darimi’s conclusion is that Bishr became a Kafir like the polytheists of Makkah such as Walid bin Mughira.

We have to ask ourselves sincerely: Is it really this easy to call an individual Kafir, or Mushrik, and to even extend this to a whole group of people and sometimes all the people of an entire Islamic state who ruled the Ummah for many centuries? Is it possible to make Takfeer with this kind of logic?

Let’s now look at the fallacy of ad-Darimi’s logic. If his logic process for the aforementioned argument is correct then the following argument should also be correct:

  • Human beings walk.
  • Cats also walk.
  • Hence human beings are cats.

If the conclusion from the two premises is wrong then the ad-Darimi’s logic is no different, as the presentation of his premises and his conclusion (within the context of his argument) can be denoted as follows:

  • The Qur’an is created.
  • Words of a created being are also created.
  • Hence Qur’an is the word of a created being.

In the sciences of logic, technically such comparative analogy (Qiyas) cannot be based on two positive premises. If one of the premises is positive then the other one must be negative to reach a correct conclusion. Otherwise if both premises are positive or negative, then the conclusion is deemed invalid.

To give an example, we can correct this comparison as follows:

  • The Qur’an is not created (it is Ghayr Makhlooq).
  • The word of a created being (Bashar) is created (Makhlooq).
  • Hence Qur’an is not the word of a created being (bashar).

However this conclusion is against the purpose of ad-Darimi, whose focus is not to prove or show that the Qur’an is not the word of a created being. So what is his purpose then? It was to make Takfeer upon the Mu’tazilah and to place them into the same category as polytheists.

It is really ironic that those who were against the sciences of logic were/are/had been/have been of the same group of people, namely Ahl ul-Hadith, like ad-Darimi himself, and when we just scratch the surface of their arguments a little bit we find such huge elemental mistakes in their logic.

So we should ask ourselves at this stage: Shall we then rely on the logic and hence the knowledge given to us by such people? Or should we rather turn to the likes of the Fuqaha such as Imam Abu Hanifa (RA)? Let’s also remember a quote by Imam al-Ghazali (RA) who said that ‘one cannot rely on gaining knowledge taught by those who do not know the sciences of logic’.

When we approach Ahaadith we need to be fully equipped in the sciences of Usool ad-Deen (Foundational Principles of the Religion). Otherwise, it is easy to interpret the Ahaadith in a wrong way and hence miss the pivotal point of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad ﷺ.

May Allah protect us from all types of fallacious arguments, and especially against the use of flawed logic in religious matters.

 

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2 thoughts on “Uthman Ad-Darimi and Faulty Logic

  1. You are a very big Jaahil. And I laugh at you. Had you read al-Baqillaani’s book [he is an Imaam of the Ashaa’irah] you would know that they believe that the Qur’aan consists of letters which form words which are place holders for the Kalaam in the Divine Essence of Allaah. An Ashaa’irah confirmed this for me. The fact that you just twisted the logic to suit your articles shows what a Jaahil you are and have attacked a figure from the Salaf like Daarimi. May Allaah humiliate you and cover your face in dust.

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    • Dear Mr. Parvez,

      The original author of this article is not necessarily making a sweeping statement in favor of the Mu’tazilah, rather he is showing the logical fallacy in one of the arguments of Ad-Darimi. As Ash’aris we have our own problems with the Mu’tazili school, and these are well-known throughout history.

      With regards to the Ash’ari position about the Qur’an, our position is that the letters and words we recite (and which are created) necessarily indicate to meanings going back to the Eternal Speech of Allah. It would do you well to humbly study this matter under a proper Sunni scholar, rather than look for a polemics-based reading of issues.

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