Jabrites


Jabrites
(jabriyya, mujbira)
   An early theological movement that upheld the doctrine of jabr, or divine compulsion. The Jabrites maintained that it is not humans but God alone who acts, that human beings have no real power over their choices and actions, and that all events are ultimately determined by God’s will. Accordingly, they argued in defense of qadar, or predestination. The Jabrites drew primarily upon traditional sources such as the Qur’an and hadith in support of their position, pointing to numerous fatalistic-sounding passages, e.g. where Muhammad speaks of God’s ‘primordial pen’ (which sets forth everything that will happen until the Day of Judgement) and asserts that a person’s place in Paradise or Hell is predetermined. The Ash‘arites, who subsequently put forth a more qualified version of the predestination doctrine, supplemented this kind of exegetical defense with rational arguments that emphasized God’s absolute omnipotence, a premise that left little room for the power or freedom of the individual will. Although the Ash‘arites presented their own doctrine of ‘acquisition’ (kasb) as a happy mean between the Jabrites’ fixation on divine compulsion and the Qadarites’ privileging of free will, the Mu‘tazilites (who were also staunch defenders of free will) simply lumped them in with the other jabriyya. Obvious similarities notwithstanding, one can differentiate between different degrees of Jabrism. While more extreme versions of the doctrine would seem to suggest that everything is predetermined (i.e. not only what happens to an individual, but how he or she reacts), more moderate and subtle versions of the doctrine attempted to leave a little room for some kind of individual moral responsibility. This qualified version of Jabrism won out over the Qadarites’ and Mu‘tazilites’ free will theology and effectively became a mainstream Sunni position.
   Further reading: Watt 1948, 1962/85

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ash‘arites — (ash‘ariyya)    The Ash‘arite school of theology was founded in the early fourth/tenth century by Abu al Hasan al Ash‘ari. Originally a theologian of the Mu‘tazilite persuasion, al Ash‘ari ultimately rejected his former school’s privileging of… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • free will and predestination —    The tension between human free will and God’s predestination is a thorny issue in the Islamic tradition. Although one can find prominent strains of fatalism in pre Islamic thought, concepts such as dahr or zaman (‘time’, which inexorably… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • Qadarites — (qadariyya)    An early theological movement that upheld the centrality of human free will. The rubric qadariyya is notoriously misleading: it actually derives from the Arabic word qadar – ‘destiny’ or ‘divine predestination’ – and was generally… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • Hanbalites — (hanabila)    Founded by Ahmad ibn Hanbal (164–241/780–855), Hanbalism is a robustly traditionalist school of jurisprudence and theology. The most conservative of the four major Sunni schools of jurisprudence, it depends almost exclusively on the …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • Ibn Taymiyya, Taqi al-Din — (661–728/1263–1328)    Ibn Taymiyya was perhaps the most important and influential proponent of the Hanbalite school of jurisprudence and theology, upholding its literalist approach to Qur’an and sunna against a multiple front of sophisticated… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • theology — (kalam)    ‘Ilm al kalam – lit. ‘the science of the word’ (or speech or discussion) – comprises a tradition of dialectical argumentation and speculative thought that attempts to explain, clarify and defend the fundamental theological doctrines of …   Islamic philosophy dictionary