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CONCEPTIONS OF SELF-DETERMINATION IN FOURTH/TENTH-CENTURY MUSLIM THEOLOGY: AL-BĀQILLĀNĪ'S THEORY OF HUMAN ACTS IN ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT

  • Jan Thiele (a1)

Abstract

Man's individual responsibility is a very central notion in Muslim theology. Rational foundations for moral responsibility presuppose, however, that man has in some way control over his actions. It was therefore of central concern to theologians to formulate theories of action that were coherent enough to account for human self-determination. This article examines al-Bāqillānī's reflections on human acts and attempts to contextualise his thought within the discussions of his time. I will briefly review the Muʿtazilites’ theory of freedom of action, against which the Ašʿarite school developed its own position. I will then outline the fundamentals of the opposing standpoint adopted by Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ašʿarī, who proposed to base human self-determination on voluntariness. Finally, I will discuss how al-Bāqillānī drew on and further developed al-Ašʿarī's ideas. Based on the extant volumes of al-Bāqillānī's Hidāyat al-mustaršidīn, I argue that he attempts to coherently organise the school's understanding of the famous theory of “acquisition” (kasb) by affirming two fundamental principles: a) that human acts are created by God and b) that there is nevertheless a real correlation between man and his “acquired” acts.

La responsabilité individuelle de l'homme est une notion centrale en théologie musulmane. Or une justification rationnelle de notre responsabilité morale présuppose que nos actes sont d'une certaine manière sous notre contrôle. Pour les théologiens, il était donc important de formuler une théorie de l'acte humain qui tienne compte de l'autodétermination humaine. Cet article analyse les réflexions d'al-Bāqillānī au sujet de l'acte humain dans le contexte des discussions qui eurent lieu en son temps. Je récapitulerai brièvement la théorie muʿtazilite du libre arbitre, théorie à laquelle s'opposa l’école ašʿarite en formulant sa propre position. Ensuite, j'esquisserai les fondements du point de vue d'Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ašʿarī qui proposa de fonder l'autodétermination humaine sur le caractère volontaire de l'acte humain. Finalement, je discuterai comment al-Bāqillānī développe sa théorie en partant des idées d'al-Ašʿarī. Sur la base des volumes préservés de la Hidāyat al-mustaršidīn d'al-Bāqillānī, j'argumenterai qu'il envisage de donner plus de cohérence à la célèbre théorie de l’ “acquisition” (kasb) en soutenant deux principes: a) l'acte humain est créé par Dieu; b) il existe cependant une corrélation réelle entre l'homme et son acte “acquis”.

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1 As a general introduction to the free will problem, I found Thomas Pink, Free Will. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2004) very inspiring for my reflections on the issue of self-determination and responsibility as discussed in medieval kalām.

2 The argument is discussed in detail by Daniel Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain en théologie musulmane (Paris, 1980), pp. 252–7. With their belief in freedom of action, early Muʿtazilites were opposed to a number of proponents of divine determinism, most prominently represented by Ǧahm b. Ṣafwān (d. 128/745–6) and his followers, the so-called Ǧahmiyya. A critical examination of Ǧahm's position was still a literary topos in the Muʿtazilites’ later writings: see, for example, ʿAbd al-Ǧabbār al-Hamaḏānī, al-Muġnī fī abwāb al-tawḥīd wa-al-ʿadl, ed. Muḥammad Muṣṭafā Ḥilmī et al., 14 vols. (Cairo, 1961–1965), vol. VIII, pp. 3, 83; Abū al-Ḥusayn Aḥmad Mānekdīm Šešdīw, Šarḥ al-uṣūl al-ḫamsa, ed. ʿAbd al-Karīm ʿUṯmān (Cairo, 1384/1965), p. 324; Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad Ibn Mattawayh, Kitāb al-Maǧmūʿ fī al-Muḥīṭ bi-al-taklīf, ed. Jean Joseph Houben, Daniel Gimaret and Jan Peters, 3 vols. (Beirut, 1965–1999), vol. I, p. 428.

3 Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Ismāʿīl al-Ašʿarī, Kitāb Maqālāt al-islāmiyyīn wa-iḫtilāf al-muṣallīn, ed. Hellmut Ritter, 4th edn (Beirut, 2005), p. 230.

4 For a study on some early conceptions of the qudra see Richard M. Frank, “Remarks on the early development of the kalam”, in Atti del III Congresso di Studi Arabi e Islamici (Naples, 1967), pp. 315–29.

5 For example, theologians like Muʿammar b. ʿAbbād al-Sulamī (d. 215/830), al-Ǧāḥiẓ (d. 255/869) and perhaps also Ṯumāma b. Ašras (d. 213/828–9) suggested, with some nuances, that the occurrence of bodily actions depend in some way on the human will (irāda) (see Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 28–35). The question, whether the Muʿtazilite conception of the human free agency is compatible with some form of determinism, was posed in its most radical form by Ḍirār b. ʿAmr (d. c. 200/815). According to him, human acts have two agents: God who creates and man who “acquires” the act. Most other Muʿtazilites disagreed with this theory to such extent that they even expelled him from the school; see also below.

6 The most comprehensive and reliable analysis of ʿAbd al-Ǧabbār's understanding of the human act is Frank, Richard M., “The autonomy of the human agent in the teaching of ʿAbd al-Ǧabbar [sic]”, Le Muséon, 92 (1982): 323–55.

7 Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 47–8, 56; Frank, “The autonomy of the human agent”, p. 327. In addition to the sources quoted by Gimaret and Frank, see also the relevant passages found in the part on istiṭāʿa from ʿAbd al-Ǧabbār's Muġnī, which is missing in the Yemeni recension of the work, but now partially available in the Karaite recension (Nukat al-Kitāb al-Mughnī: A Recension of ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-Hamadhānī's (d. 415/1025) al-Mughnī fī abwāb al-tawḥīd wa-l-ʿadl: Al-Kalām fī l-tawlīd; al-Kalām fī l-istiṭāʿa; al-Kalām fī l-taklīf; al-Kalām fī l-naẓar wa-l-maʿārif. The extant parts introduced and edited by Omar Hamdan and Sabine Schmidtke [Beirut, 2012], pp. 93, 107–11, 113–16).

8 See Frank, “The autonomy of the human agent”, p. 327, relying on ʿAbd al-Ǧabbār, Muġnī, vol. XI, p. 65 (kawn al-qādir qādiran yaqtaḍī fī fiʿlihi an yaṣiḥḥa an yūǧada fī ḥāl dūn ḥāl, wa-yuʾṯira fiʿlan ʿalā fiʿl min ġayr ʿilla, li-annahu law lam yafʿala ḏālika illā li-ʿilla la-naqaḍa ḏālika kawnahu qādiran ), and p. 95 (lā yaṣiḥḥu taʿlīl al-ḥādiṯ min ǧihat al-qādir bi-mā yaqtaḍī iḫrāǧahu min kawnihi qādiran ). The question, why the will cannot be the cause (mūǧib, ʿilla, sabab) for man's actions, is comprehensively discussed by Abū Rašīd Saʿīd b. Muḥammad b. Saʿīd al-Nīsābūrī, al-Masā ʾil fī al-ḫilāf bayn al-Baṣriyyīn wa-al-Baġdādiyyīn, ed. Maʿn Ziyāda and Riḍwān al-Sayyid (Beirut, 1979), pp. 357–61 and Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad Ibn Mattawayh, al-Ta ḏkira fī aḥkām al-ǧawāhir wa-al-aʿrāḍ, ed. Daniel Gimaret, 2 vols. (Cairo, 2009), vol. II, pp. 560–2. The Baṣran Muʿtazilites did, however, not completely deny that one's will and motivations are in some way effective. Rather, they posited that, depending on our intentions, our acts occur “in a specific manner” (ʿalā waǧhin ): speech can, for example, have different modalities, and be uttered as a command, a statement or a question. In addition, the Baṣran Muʿtazilites believed that our will and motivations may have ethical implications: for example, whenever speech is uttered as a lie, the specific manner in which the act of speaking occurs is the effect of reprehensible intentions and therefore deserves blame. For the Baṣran theory of the effectiveness of the will and of motivations see Frank, “The autonomy of the human agent”, pp. 331–7 and, in particular with regard to the ethical dimensions of the issue, Sophia Vasalou, Moral Agents and Their Deserts. The Character of Mu ʿtazilite Ethics (Princeton, 2008) (see especially p. 141 for the modalities of speech).

9 The notion of ilǧāʾ was actually interpreted by Gimaret as a form of determinism that is incompatible with human free will (see Daniel Gimaret, “La notion d’‘impulsion irrésistible’ (ilǧâʾ) dans l’éthique muʿtazilite”, Journal Asiatique, 259 [1971]: 25–62; Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 48–9, 56–9). Frank, “The autonomy of the human agent” and Wilferd Madelung, “The late Muʿtazila and determinism: the philosophers’ trap”, in Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti and Lucia Rostangno (eds.), Yād-Nāma in memoria di Alessandro Bausani, 2 vols. (Rome, 1991), vol. I, pp. 245–57, pp. 245–8, showed that Gimaret misunderstands the Baṣran theory.

10 Frank, “The autonomy of the human agent”, p. 348.

11 Ibid ., pp. 353–4.

12 Ibid ., p. 351; Madelung, “Late Muʿtazila and determinism”, p. 246.

13 Madelung, “Late Muʿtazila and determinism”, p. 246.

14 See Daniel Gimaret, La doctrine d'al-Ashʿarī (Paris, 1990), pp. 137, 145 and al-Bāqillānī, Hidāyat al-mustaršidīn, MS Fes, Qarawiyyīn 692, fols. 143b–144a.

15 Abū Rašīd al-Nīsābūrī, al-Masā ʾil fī al-ḫilāf, p. 357; Ibn Mattawayh, Taḏkira, vol. II, p. 561.

16 Madelung, “Late Muʿtazila and determinism”, pp. 249–52.

17 Abū al-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī, Taṣaffuḥ al-adilla. The extant parts introduced and edited by Wilferd Madelung and Sabine Schmidtke (Wiesbaden, 2006), p. 97: “al-fāʿil huwa al-muʾaṯṯir ʿalā ṭarīq al-ṣiḥḥa, wa-maʿnā al-muʾaṯṯir ʿalā ṭarīq al-ṣiḥḥa huwa allaḏī ḥaṣṣala al-taʾṯīr bi-ḥasab tamakkunihi wa-dawāʿīhi, fa-al-qawl bi-anna al-fiʿl yaḥṣulu maʿ faqd al-dawāʿī wa-wuǧūd al-ṣawārif wa-yakūnu man laysa lahu ilayhi dāʿin fāʿilan yaqtaḍī ṯubūt fāʿil lam yuḥaṣṣil al-taʾṯīr bi-ḥasab dāʿīhi, fa-tantaqiḍu ḥaqīqat al-fāʿil wa-nulabbisuhu bi-man laysa bi-fāʿil”. Abū al-Ḥusayn goes on arguing that this must even be admitted by his Baṣran Muʿtazilite fellows who question his understanding of the agent: “fa-ammā aṣḥābunā fa-innahum, wa-in lam yaǧʿalū hāḏā maʿnā al-fāʿil, fa-innahum yaqūlūna: al-fiʿl yaǧibu wuqūʿuhu bi-ḥasab dāʿī al-qādir wa-yaǧibu intifāʾuhu bi-ḥasab ṣārifihi, fa-iḏan wuqūʿuhu maʿ wuǧūd al-ṣawārif wa-intifāʾ al-dawāʿī muḥāl”.

18 Ibid ., p. 99.

19 Ibid ., p. 97: “al-qādir huwa allaḏī yaṣiḥḥu an yafʿala wa-an lā yafʿala”; whether one acts or omits the act depends, in accordance with his abovementioned theory, on motivations: “wa-maʿnā ḏālika huwa anna fiʿlahu yaḥṣulu bi-ḥasab dawāʿīhi wa-yaǧibu intifāʾuhu bi-ḥasab ṣawārifihi”.

20 Abū al-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī, Taṣaffuḥ al-adilla, pp. 99–100.

21 See the critical edition and translation of al-Ašʿarī's Kitāb al-Lumaʿ, §§49–53 in Richard J. McCarthy, The Theology of al-Ashʿarī. The Arabic text of al-Ashʿarī's Kitāb al-Lumaʿ and Risālat Istiḥsān al-Khawḍ fī ʿIlm al-Kalām, with brief annotated translations, and Appendices containing material pertinent to the study of al-Ashʿarī (Beirut, 1953) (in the following referred to as al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ). The upshot of this theory was a radical occasionalism: see Dominik Perler and Ulrich Rudolph, Occasionalismus. Theorien der Kausalität im arabisch-islamischen und im europäischen Denken (Göttingen, 2000), pp. 51–6.

22 Al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §101; see also Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 378–9.

23 Al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §§57–58.

24 Al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §135 (all English translations from the Lumaʿ are by McCarthy).

25 Al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §87; see also Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, p. 80; Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 387–8.

26 Al-Ašʿarī radically expresses his determinism in his discussion of the question who are the real “Qadarites” (al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §§120–121), where he concludes: “We affirm that God determines our works and creates them as determined for us, but we do not affirm that of ourselves.”

27 As Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, p. 82, notes, the distinction between necessary and non-necessary acts was not made by such proponents of divine determinism as the Ǧahmiyya.

28 Al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §§92–94; see also the definition in al-Ašʿarī, Maqālāt, p. 542: “wa-al-ḥaqq ʿindī anna maʿnā al-iktisāb huwa an yaqaʿa al-šayʾ bi-qudrain muḥdaṯa fa-yakuna kasban li-man waqaʿa bi-qudratihi” and Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 80–1; Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 131, 391.

29 See, for example Q 2:286, 3:161 or 24:11; there were even more economic interpretations of kasaba in such verses as Q 2:79 (see M. Schwarz, “ ‘Acquisition’ (kasb) in early Kalām”, in Samuel M. Stern, Albert Hourani and Vivian Brown [eds.], Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition. Essays presented by his friends and pupils to Richard Walzer on his 70. birthday [Oxford, 1972], pp. 355–87, pp. 361–2).

30 Schwarz, “ ‘Acquisition’ (kasb) in early Kalām”, pp. 358–68. See also Josef van Ess, Theologie und Gesellschaft im 2. und 3. Jahrhundert Hidschra. Eine Geschichte des religiösen Denkens im frühen Islam, 6 vols. (Berlin/New York, 1991–1997), vol. III, pp. 45–8 (for Ḍirār b. ʿAmr), vol. IV, pp. 149–50 (for al-Naǧǧār) and vol. IV, p. 195 (for Ibn Kullāb).

31 Schwarz, “ ‘Acquisition’ (kasb) in early Kalām”, pp. 373–7.

32 Al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §59.

33 Al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §92.

34 The basing of moral responsibility on voluntariness in the absence of freedom is also found in Western philosophy, a belief prominently represented by the sixteenth-century reformer John Calvin; see Pink, Thomas, “Power and moral responsibility”, Philosophical Explorations, 12 (2009): 127–49, pp. 139–43 and, in a more popular form, Pink, Free Will, pp. 73–9.

35 Essentially, these questions were already raised by Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 391–6, who concludes that they can even not be satisfactorily answered on the basis of later Ašʿarite accounts – such as Ibn Fūrak's Muǧarrad maqālāt al-Ašʿarī, our most important second-hand source on al-Ašʿarī's theology.

36 See Heidrun Eichner, The Post-Avicennian Philosophical Tradition and Islamic Orthodoxy. Philosophical and Theological summae in Context (Unpublished “Habilitation”-Thesis, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 2009), pp. 160–4; through analysing the literary structure of the work, she concludes that “the K. al-Tamhīd marks a transgression between a comprehensive presentation of doxographical material and attempts to develop a theory of the systematical coherence of the doctrines expounded” (p. 160).

37 Gimaret, Daniel, “La théorie des aḥwâl d'Abû Hâšim al-Ǧubbâʾî d'après des sources ašʿarites”, Journal Asiatique, 258 (1970): 4786 , pp. 76–7; Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, p. 94–5; Gimaret, Daniel, “Un extrait de la Hidāya d'Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī: le Kitāb at-tawallud, réfutation de la thèse muʿtazilite de la génération des actes”, Bulletin d’études orientales, 58 (2009): 259313 , p. 259 (with further references).

38 The relative chronology can be established by two citations of the Tamhīd found in the Hidāya (see Gimaret, “Un extrait de la Hidāya d'Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī”, p. 265 and Schmidtke, Sabine, “Early Ašʿarite theology. Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d.403/1013) and his Hidāyat al-mustaršidīn ”, Bulletin d’études orientales, 60 [2011]: 3971, p. 43).

39 For the manuscripts and their content see Gimaret, “Un extrait de la Hidāya d'Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī” and Schmidtke, “Early Ašʿarite theology”. On the topic of the human act, al-Bāqillānī also wrote a Kitāb Aḥkām taṣarruf al-ʿibād, quoted in the Hidāya (MS Fes, fol. 112b = Gimaret, “Un extrait de la Hidāya d'Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī”, p. 286, §67).

40 A famous example is al-Bāqillānī's adaption of the Muʿtazilite notion of ḥāl: after having completely rejected the concept in the Tamhīd, al-Bāqillānī eventually came to use it in the Hidāya; for further details see below.

41 In particular, the beginning and the end of MS Fes are affected by damages to the paper.

42 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 9b: “[…] šaraḥnāhu min qablu fī ḥadd al-kasb”.

43 Abū Bakr Muḥammad Ibn al-Ṭayyib al-Bāqillānī, Kitāb al-Tamhīd, ed. Richard J. McCarthy (Beirut, 1957), p. 307, §527; see also the definition in Abū Bakr Muḥammad Ibn al-Ṭayyib al-Bāqillānī, al-Taqrīb wa-al-iršād (al-ṣaġīr), ed. ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd b. ʿAlī Abū Zunayd, 3 vols. (Beirut, 1993–1998), vol. I, p. 233: “mā waqaʿa maqdūran lahu bi-qudratin muḥdaṯatin, wa-laysat qudratan ʿalā iḥdāṯihi wa-inšāʾihi”.

44 See Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, p. 87, referring to al-Bāqillānī, Tamhīd, pp. 308, §527 and 286, §486. Even before, the notion of iktisāb was apparently tied to the agent's choice (iḫtiyār) by the Imāmī theologian Hišām b. al-Ḥakam (d. 179/795–6) (Schwarz, “ ‘Acquisition’ (kasb) in early Kalām”, p. 370).

45 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 112b (edited as part of Gimaret, “Un extrait de la Hidāya d'Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī”, p. 286, §67): “al-kasb innamā yufāriqu al-ḍarūrī bi-wuǧūd al-qudra ʿalayhi wa-kawn man wuǧida bihi qādiran ʿalayhi wa-muḫtāran lahu”.

46 Al-Bāqillānī's central role in the history of Ašʿarism was highlighted as early as at the beginnings of Ašʿarite studies in the nineteenth century: since then, scholars repeatedly relied on Ibn Ḫaldūn's (d. 808/1406) famous account on the evolution of Ašʿarite kalām, which is found in his Muqaddima (see, for example, Martin Schreiner, “Zur Geschichte des Aśʿaritenthums”, in Actes du 8e Congrès International des Orientalistes [Leiden, 1893], pp. 79–117, pp. 81–3). Ibn Ḫaldūn attributes to al-Bāqillānī a number of revisions of earlier Ašʿarite doctrines. As we know today, the examples provided by Ibn Ḫaldūn – al-Bāqillānī's teaching on atoms, void and the fact that accidents need a substrate – are in fact positions that were already held by al-Ašʿarī himself; see Richard J. McCarthy's article “al-Bāḳillānī” in EI2 , and for more detailed discussions Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 35–63 (on atoms), pp. 63–5 (on void), pp. 75–97 (on accidents) as well as Frank, Richard M., “The Ašʿarite ontology: I primary entities”, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 9 (1999): 163231 ; in addition, Shihadeh, Ayman, “The argument from ignorance and its critics in medieval Arabic thought”, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 23 (2013): 171220, pp. 217–20 showed that Ibn Ḫaldūn's presentation of al-Bāqillānī's teaching on rational proofs is imprecise. Surprisingly, Ibn Ḫaldūn is, however, silent on such original positions as al-Bāqillānī's abovementioned adaption of the concept of ḥāl or the developments of the theory of kasb discussed in this article.

47 See al-Bāqillānī, Tamhīd, p. 286, §486 and al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 112b (edited in Gimaret, “Un extrait de la Hidāya d'Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī”, p. 286, §67).

48 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 9b.

49 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fols. 10b–11b.

50 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāyat al-mustaršidīn, MS Tashkent, al-Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 3296, fol. 6a.

51 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 143a; al-Bāqillānī, Tamhīd, p. 287, §488; for al-Ašʿarī's original argument see Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 137–8, based on al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §§ 123–124.

52 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 143b–144a; for al-Ašʿarī's identical objection see Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 137, 145 based on al-Ašʿarī, Lumaʿ, §§ 126–127.

53 It was argued that, otherwise, accidents would never cease to exist and their contraries could not possibly come into existence (al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 145a); also see for al-Ašʿarī's view Gimaret, Doctrine, pp. 90, 133; Frank, “The Ašʿarite ontology”, p. 197.

54 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Tashkent, fol. 1b.

55 Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 88–90. This account by al-Šahrastānī, which was also later adopted by Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, al-Āmidī and others, is, however, challenged by Ibn Fūrak in his Muǧarrad maqālāt al-Ašʿarī, ed. Daniel Gimaret (Beirut, 1987), pp. 92–3; see Gimaret, Doctrine, p. 392.

56 Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 92–3 (relying on Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Šahrastānī, al-Milal wa-al-niḥal = Books of Religious and Philosophical Sects, ed. William Cureton, 2 vols. [London, 1842–1846], vol. I, pp. 69–70 and Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Šahrastānī, Nihāyat al-aqdām fī ʿilm al-kalām, ed. Alfred Guillaume [London, 1934], pp. 72–6, 87); see also below.

57 The notion of ḥāl was introduced into the conceptual framework of kalām by Abū Hāšim al-Ǧubbāʾī. Al-Bāqillānī's position on this concept was not consistent. In the Tamhīd, he devotes a whole chapter to refuting it (al-Bāqillānī, Tamhīd, pp. 200–3, §§339–344). Later, however, in the Hidāya, he borrowed and adapted the concept, primarily to prove the existence of entitative attributes in God. In accordance with Abū Hāšim, al-Bāqillānī assigned to the ḥāl a reality that cannot be described by the dichotomy of existence and non-existence (al-Bāqillānī, Hidāyat al-mustaršidīn, MS St Petersburg, The Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences, C329, fol. 35a). His idea of the reciprocal correlation between a ḥāl and its entitative ground is well summarised in the following passage: “the knower's being knowing entails the existence of entitative knowledge (kawn al-ʿālim ʿāliman yaqtaḍī wuǧūd al-ʿilm) and the existence of entitative knowledge entails his being knowing. […] The existence of entitative knowledge entails the knower's being knowing in the sense that it is the ground (ʿilla) that accounts for his being knowing […]. The knower's being knowing does not necessitate entitative knowledge (lā yaqtaḍī wuǧūb al-ʿilm), because ‘his being knowing’ refers to a ḥāl of [the knower], and the general consensus is that the aḥwāl do not necessitate entities. [However], it is possible to say that the knower's being knowing entails the existence of entitative knowledge in the sense of the ‘evidence for that which is evidenced’ (ʿalā maʿnā iqtiḍāʾ al-dalāla li-al-madlūl), since the existence of knowledge is evidenced by [the knower's being knowing] […].” (al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS St Petersburg, fol. 62b). I will be further exploring al-Bāqillānī's notion of ḥāl in a forthcoming publication; for some preliminary observations based on al-Bāqillānī's Hidāya see Jan Thiele, “Abū Hāshim al-Jubbāʾī's (d. 321/933) theory of ‘states’ (aḥwāl) and its adaption by Ashʿarite theologians”, in Sabine Schmidtke (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology (Oxford, 2016), pp. 364–83, pp. 377–82.

58 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 152b; see also fol. 146b where al-Bāqillānī describes the entity of power as the ground (ʿilla) for the agent's “being powerful”: “hāḏihi ʿilla […] li-annahu innamā yaḥtāǧu al-qudra li-yakūna al-qādir bihā qādiran ”. Obviously, al-Bāqillānī posited that compelled agents are qualified by a ḥāl of being “powerless” (ʿāǧiz), which is opposed (mutaḍādda) to that of the “powerful”. This can be deduced from a passage from the section on attributes (Kitāb al-Ṣifāt) in the Hidāya, where a detractor argues that only entities (ḏawāt) can be opposed to each other; in this context, he refers to the opposition between the ḥāl of the “powerful” and the “powerless” that al-Bāqillānī affirms; see al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS St Petersburg, fol. 99a–b.

59 Al-Bāqillānī refers to these properties as al-ṣifāt allatī lahā taʿalluq (al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 7a); in the section on attributes (Kitāb al-Ṣifāt) of the Hidāya, he also refers to knowledge, power and the will as examples for a class of accidents that relate to something else (ǧins mā lahu taʿalluq min al-aʿrāḍ ka-al-ʿulūm wa-al-qudar wa-al-irādāt; see al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS St Petersburg, fol. 135b). For a comprehensive Baṣran Muʿtazilite account of correlations established by accidents see Ibn Mattawayh, Taḏkira, vol. I, pp. 6–8.

60 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 7a–8b.

61 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 11b.

62 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 9a–b.

63 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Tashkent, fol. 15b: “fa-in kānat [al-istiṭāʿa] ṣāliḥa li-[al-fiʿl] fī ḥāl wuqūʿihi wa-kawnihi mafʿūlan bihā, waǧaba kawnuhā qudratan ʿalayhi fī tilka al-ḥāl wa-mutaʿallaqa bihi, wa-ḏālika mā naqūlu”.

64 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 114a (= Gimaret, “Un extrait de la Hidāya d'Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī”, p. 286, §71): “wa-law lam yakun li-kawnihi kasban taʿalluq bi-kawn al-muktasib qādiran, la-istawat fī ḏālika ḥāl al-qādir wa-ḥāl al-marīḍ wa-al-ʿāǧiz, wa-ḏālika mimmā qad ʿulima buṭlānuhu fa-ṯabata mā qulnāhu”.

65 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 153a–b. Al-Ǧuwaynī later formulated a similar position in his Iršād (ed. Muḥammad Yūsuf Mūsā and ʿAlī ʿAbd al-Munʿim ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd [Cairo, 1369/1950], p. 210); he denies, however, that the correlation between qudra and maqdūr implies any effectiveness of man's power on his “acquired” acts (see Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 121–2).

66 The argument is further developed in Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 252–5.

67 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 154a.

68 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 142b: “[al-ʿabd] innamā yaḥtāǧu ilā [al-qudra] li-yaṣīra al-kasb bihā ʿalā ṣifa tufāriqu ṣifat al-iḍṭirār.”

69 Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 101–3. Recently, the Bayān was published and the relevant passage is found in Abū Ǧaʿfar Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Simnānī, al-Bayān ʿan uṣūl al-īmān wa-al-kašf ʿan tamwīhāt ahl al-ṭuġyān, ed. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. Rašīd al-Ayyūb (Kuwait, 1435/2014), pp. 243–4.

70 Al-Šahrastānī also denotes the “modalities” of man's acting as “a ḥāl that is supplemental to existence” (ḥāl zāʾida ʿalā al-wuǧūd) and “rational points of view” (iʿtibārāt ʿaqliyya). In his accounts it is not always clear whether al-Šahrastānī provides a paraphrase or his own interpretation of al-Bāqillānī's teaching. The relevant texts (al-Šahrastānī, Milal, vol. I, pp. 97–8 and al-Šahrastānī, Nihāya, pp. 73–5) were analysed by Harry Austryn Wolfson, The Philosophy of Kalam (Harvard, 1976), pp. 692–3, Gimaret, Théories de l'acte humain, pp. 104–15 (including French translations of the texts) and Alami, Ahmed, “L'ašʿarisme face à la théorie des modes”, Philosophie, 77 (2003): 4568 , pp. 52–7.

71 See al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS Fes, fol. 152b: “[…] qudratuhu bi-iḥdāṯihi waǧaba an yuqāla inna maʿnā taʾṯīrihā wa-taʿalluqihā bi-maqdūrihā aḥad ṯalāṯat awǧuh minhā annahu laysa taʾṯīruhā wuǧūb wuǧūd al-maqdūr wa-ḥudūṯ[ihi] bihā wa-lā ǧaʿluhu ʿalā ṣifa tarǧiʿu ilā nafsihi wa-ǧinsihi aw ṣifa tatbaʿu ḥudūṯahu aw annahu kāʾin bihā ʿalā baʿḍ ḥaqāʾiqihi.”

72 Al-Bāqillānī, Hidāya, MS St Petersburg, fol. 150b: “al-qudra innamā tataʿallaqu bi-iḥdāṯ maʿnā aw bi-iktisābihi bi-an tataʿallaqa bihi wa-huwa mawǧūd aw bi-an yaṣīra bihā ʿalā ṣifa tatbaʿu al-ḥudūṯ”.

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CONCEPTIONS OF SELF-DETERMINATION IN FOURTH/TENTH-CENTURY MUSLIM THEOLOGY: AL-BĀQILLĀNĪ'S THEORY OF HUMAN ACTS IN ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT

  • Jan Thiele (a1)

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