Al-Hasan ibn 'Ali al-Barbahari
|Born||Baghdad, Iraq |
|Died||941 CE |
|Main interests||Tawheed, Fiqh, and Hadiths|
Al-Ḥasan ibn ʻAlī al-Barbahārī was a Sunni Islamic theologian from Iraq. His books are peppered with stinging remarks that place the Shias, Qadaris, Mu'tazilis and Asharis in an extremely negative light. His concern for preserving the sunnah led him to become increasingly outspoken in his later years, and ultimately led him in trouble with the authorities. He is often remembered by Salafi Sunnis as a staunch defender of Tawheed, and as one who passionately advocated that the viewpoint of the Sahaba or the companions of Muhammad, are a decisive authority when interpreting texts rather than contemporary laymen.
Al-Barbahari was born in Baghdad, Iraq and was fortunate to learn from the students of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Al-Barbahari focused a large portion of his scholarship in the science of hadith and fiqh. He often found himself in groups of hadith students studying the narrations of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Sunni scholars have frequently praised his piety and his efforts of preserving the Sunnah. Abu-al-Faraj ibn Al-Jawzi eulogized al-Barbahari's stern oratory style:
He gathered knowledge and abstention from this world... and was strong against the people of innovation.
Al-Barbahari had several widely known students including the famed scholar Ibn Battah. His growing influence in Baghdad ultimately led him to come to loggerheads with public officials and groups who received the brunt of his criticism. An arrest order was issued against al-Barbahari and he was forced into hiding while some of his students were arrested. He died in 329 AH (941 CE) in eastern Baghdad.
Firm stance against non-sunni approaches of islam 
Al-Barbahari is mostly remembered as a severe critic of views which contradict the sunni interpretation of Islam, which he described as bidah. In his book, Sharhu s-Sunnah "Explanation of the Creed", al-Barbahari attacks various groups he believed were heretic. His works may be seen as a warning to the general public to apprise them of what he saw as views contradicting the sect he adhered to. For example, a good portion of sayings in his book, begins with the phrase, "May God have mercy upon you!" or "Beware of..." thus suggesting his works were not necessarily a rebuttal against the growing heresies but rather as warnings to the masses.
The Salaf 
In deeply relying on the sunni narrative of the viewpoints of the companions of Muhammad, al-Barbahari praises many of the Tabieen, theorizing that one can ascertain whether an individual is on the right path by discerning whether that individual shows love for the early generations of Muslims. He went as far to say that those who viewed any Islamic religious matter differently from the Sahaba, or companions of Muhammad as presented in the context of sunni theological doctrine and historical narrative, has fallen into disbelief.
- "May God have mercy on you! Examine carefully the speech of everyone you hear from in your time particularly. So do not act in haste and do not enter into anything from it until you ask and see: Did any of the Companions of the Prophet speak about it or any of the scholars?"
- "If you hear someone criticising or rejecting the narrations (hadiths) or desiring something other than the narrations, have doubt about his Islam. Do not doubt about his being a person of desires and innovation."
- "If you see a man criticising the companions of the messenger of God, know that he is a person of wicked speech and desires..."
- "The innovators are like scorpions. They bury their heads and bodies in the sand and leave their tails out. When they get the chance they sting; the same with the innovators who conceal themselves amongst the people, when they are able, they do what they desire."
See also 
- Explanation of the Creed, pg. 7
- Explanation of the Creed
- Tabaqatu l-Hanabilati, Vol. 2, Page 44