The Asharis often claim that they are form Ahlus Sunnah but in reality the Mutakallimun (the Speculative Theologians) and Ahl al Kalaam (the people of theological rhetoric), the deviant sects such as the Jahmiyyah, Mu’tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash’ariyyah, Maturidiyyah and the Karraamiyyah are also included in the Mutakallimun and Ahl al Kalaam.
All of the sects involved in ilm-ul-kalaam (a branch of knowledge that deals with the detailed study of the islamic faith and its intellectual (scientific, logical or relational) proofs) are among Ahl al Kalaam (the people of theological rhetoric), all of these sects including the Asharis are from Ahlu Bidah.
The reason why these sects including the Asharis are from Ahlu Bidah is because they base there creed on an innovated islamic science known as ‘ilm-ul-kalaam’ which is not from the Quran and Sunnah and was never used by salaf us salaah (the first three generations of Islam). Ilm ul Kalaam is based on Greek and Roman philosophy fused with the Quran and Sunnah.
The Asharis involvement in ilm ul kalaam lead to the Asharis is their creed on al-qadaa wal-qadar (determinism) or qadar (fate), which completely goes against the correct doctrine on qadar of Ahlus Sunnah.
Shaykh Uthaymeen in his famous book The Tents Of Faith which is an explanation of the aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah explains what qadar is and the correct Ahlus Sunnah belife regarding qadar. He said the following:
“Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah or Ahlus Sunnah (Sunni Muslims) believe in Fate, whether good or bad, which Allah has measured and ordained for all creatures according to His previous knowledge and as deemed suitable by His wisdom.
Levels of Belief:
Belief in Qadar (fate) has four levels:
1) Knowledge: We believe that Allah, may He be exalted, knows everything. He knows what has happened and what will happen and how it will happen. His knowledge is eternal. He does not acquire a new knowledge nor does he forget what He knows.
2) Recording: We believe that Allah has recorded in the secured tablet (al Lowh al Mahfuz) whatever is going to happen until the Day of Judgment: “Did you not know that Allah knows all that is in heaven and Earth? Surely that is in a book. Surely that for Allah is an easy matter” (22:70).
3) Will: We believe that Allah has willed everything in heaven and Earth. Nothing happens except by His will. Whatever He wills will take place, and whatever He does not will not take place.
4) Creation: We believe that “Allah is the Creator of all things; He is the Guardian over all things, and to Him belong the keys of the heavens and the Earth” (39:62-3). This level includes whatever Allah Himself does and whatever His creatures do. Thus each saying, deed, or omission of the people is known to Allah, Who has recorded, willed, and created them: “To those among you who will to be upright. But you shall not will except as Allah wills, the Lord of the Worlds” (81:2829); “And had Allah willed they would not have fought one against the other; but Allah does whatever He desires” (2:253); “Had Allah willed, they would not have done so, but leave them alone and their false inventions” (6:137); and “And Allah created you and what you do” (37:96). Man’s Free Will:
We believe, however, that Allah has granted man a power and a free will by which he performs his actions. That man’s deeds are done by his power and free will can be proven by the following points:
1) Allah says: “So approach your fields (wives) when and how you will” (2:223); and “Had they desired to go forth, they would have made some preparation for it” (9:46). In these verses, Allah affirmed for man “a going forth” by his will and “a preparation” by his desire.
2) Directing man to do or not to do. If man has no free will and power, these directions mean that Allah is asking man to do that which he cannot do. This proposition is rejected by Allah’s wisdom, mercy and truthful statement: “Allah does not charge a soul beyond its capacity” (2:286).
3) Praising the virtuous for his deeds and blaming the evildoer for his actions and rewarding each of them with what he deserves. If the action is not done by the individual’s free will, then praising the virtuous is a joke and punishing the evildoer is an injustice, and Allah is, of course, far from joking and being unjust.
4) Allah has sent messengers who are “bearing good tidings, and warning, so that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers” (4:165). If the individual’s action is not performed by his free will, his argument is not invalidated by the sending of messengers.
5) Every doer of actions feels that he does or does not do a thing without any coercion. He stands up and sits, comes in and goes out, travels and stays by his own free will without feeling anybody forcing him to be any of these actions. In fact, he clearly distinguishes between doing something of his own free will and someone else forcing him to do that action. The Islamic law also wisely distinguishes between these states of affairs. It does not punish a wrongdoer for an action done under compulsion…”
From the above it is clear what the correct Ahlus Sunnah belief on qadar is however though the Asharis claim to be from Ahlus Sunnah they have a very different deviant innovated belief on qadar.
The Asharis hold a very strange and often misunderstood belief on qadar. As they out right reject the ideas of the Mut’azilah and Qadariyyah that man has independent free will (iraadah) and that he also has independent power (qudrah) and thus initiates and creates his own actions.
However they also reject the view of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah which is that Allah wills all actions and creates all actions of his slaves but man still has his own independent free will.
But on the other hand they also try to distance their creed on qadar from that of the Jabariyyah (the most famous of whom was Jahm bin Safwaan, the founder of the deviated Jahmiyyah sect) who claimed that man has no independent will (iraadah) or power (qudrah), and that he is just like a feather or reed blown by the wind, and that it is Allah that creates his actions.
For this reason the Asharis came up with the new concept of Kasb (earning by choosing). This concept is based on the idea that man earns his all his action through Allah giving him the power to choose to the action (that Allah willed), this action is done out of mans free will however man is forced to use the power Allah has installed in him to choose to do this action, which Allah created in him and willed for him to do.
So this concept of Kasb is clearly different to the views of Ahlus Sunnah, the Mut’azilah and Qadariyyah on the issue of qadar. The problem is though the Asharis rejected the Jabariyyahs stance on this issue of qadar their stance on the issue was the same as the Jabariyyahs it only differed in the terminology used.
The Asharis deny they are like the Jabariyyah because they know that the Jabariyyah have been heavily refuted for their views on qadar. But their view on qadar is very similar as both sects hold that man is forced to act not out of his own free will.
The Asharis claim when man choose to do an action which Allah willed and created he has no choice but to do this action (i.e. man is force to use the power Allah gave him to make the choice to do the action Allah wanted him to do, thus Allah creates the action and man acquires the action through using his power). The Jabariyyah claim that all actions man does is forced upon him by Allahs will as man has no free will (i.e. man is forced to do the actions that Allah creates due to Allahs will).
Thus it is clear that both sects agree that man is forced to do actions however they word the concept of Allah forcing man to do actions and man having no independent free will differently.
To conclude the Ashari belief on qadar is similar to that of the deviated Jabariyyah thus their belief is incorrect and innovated like the Jabariyyah. Thus this indicates that the Asharis are not from Ahlus Sunnah as their belief in qadar goes against that of Ahlus Sunnahs. As Ahlus Sunnah (as shown early in the article) hold that man is not forced to do actions and has his own independent will.
But Ahlus Sunnah still affirm that mans actions are created by Allah and willed by Allah unlike the Mut’azilah and Qadariyyah who hold man has independent power (qudrah) and thus initiates and creates his own actions.