Ijma in Ahl al-Sunnah Kalam
Ijma is ranked as the third shariah evidence after the Qur'an and Sunnah in the science of Usul. Shafi was the first one who made Usul which had been known and used by the Islamic scholars, into a written document and who ascertained that Ijma was the third of the shariah evidences. Kalam is one of the sciences in which Ijma evidence is used. The scholars of Kalam used this evidence as far as the science of Usul made it possible. They always used it without changing any basics of religious beliefs and acceptances. That the aqidah of Ahl al-Sunnah has been supported with Ijma which is regarded as one of naqly evidences, played an important role in eliminating suspicions which were tried to be aroused in momins' mind. In this article, the function and importance of Ijma evidence, which is one of the primary sources of the science of Usul, in the science of Kalam and Aqidah of Ahl al-Sunnah has been studied. Summary: What the Qur'an demands from us is to emphasize the spirit of unity among ummah and to keep out the factors that could trigger separation and division. Indeed, Allah emphasizes in the following verses in the Qur'an on the protection of the unitary structure of the ummah: "And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided" (Al a-Imran 3/103) and "And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them" (Al al-Imran 3/105). Allah has commanded the Ulul 'Azm Prophets to hold the religion upright and to avoid division. (al-Shura 42/13). The command of holding the religion upright and not to be divided in this religion means to certify what needs to be confirmed in the religion of Allah and to obey those that must be obeyed. This is also the proclamation of the principle of religion that all the prophets have consensus over. Ahl al-Sunnah understanding of Islam is identical to the understanding of the Prophet and his companions. For this reason, Ahl al-Sunna is the school that represents the main backbone of Islam. In Ahl al-Sunna, in many subjects, be it usuli / primary or furu'i / secondary, there has been ijma. These ijmas are Sahaba ijmas and deductive ijmas that come from mutakallimun (theologians) ijtihads. Therefore, ijma and ijtihad are closely connected to each other. Ijma is supported by ijtihad and ijtihad is also the source of ijma. Thus, the issue is no longer just a pure ijtihad; it turns out to be a degree that gives a solid knowledge after it has risen to some degree just after the nass/texts. Ahl al-Sunnah theologians are talking about two kinds of ijma. The first is "ijma tasdiqi" (approval consensus) which is the consensus based on Sahaba Ijma. These are the ijmas that occur on the principles called darurat al-diniyya (necessities of the religion), and accepted as solid proofs in religion. Issues such as the principles of faith, obligation of prayer and the fasting are the subjects that are determined by the solid/definite ijma. Such ijmas are valid approvals on existing provisions. These ijmas based on solid nass (verses and hadiths). Such ijmas do not give any new information. The existing information is strengthened by the alliance of Muslims. In these areas, ijtihad cannot be done and Muslims do not need ijtihad on these issues. There is an consensus of Ahl al-Sunnah scholars about the unfaithfulness of the one who denies one or more of the principles which are accepted as the main obligatory principles in Islam. The other is the "deductive ijma which the ijtihads have roles over. This kind of ijmas, are formed as a result of mujtahids' consensus over the same opinion on the issue of theological secondary issues. The issues related to the secondary theological issues which were open to the ijtihads and the different results obtained on matters are not accepted as the cause of takfir. However, depending on the subject he/she can be a sinner. Istidlali/deductive ijmas are not considered as an independent proofs in 'Ilm al-Kalam, rather a supportive ones and are considered as textual evidences. Since, texts that are accepted as sources give supposed information. In this regard, the Ahl al-Sunnah scholars accepted other members of the sect who have in secondary theological issues opposed the ijma of the salaf / predecessor as Ahl al-Qibla, but named them as Ahl al-Bid'a (innovator in religion) because of their opposition to Salaf's Ijmas. Moreover, the scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah did not see them appropriate to participate in the Ijmas, which could occur between the generations that come after Sahabas/companions. Not all disputes have been criticized in Islam. It is a blessing for the ummah to claim different opinions on the issues subject to ijtihad. Since the ummah, in this way, will bring new solutions to emerging issues and as a result, Islam will have a mechanism to produce a dynamic solution. This can only be possible through ijtihad. Dispute is to propose different views on a subject. If this view is not in the actual matters that could harm the unity of the Ummah, rather in the case of ijtihadi issues, this conflict could turn to be mercy. The reason why the methodists evaluate the ijma within the scope of the authorized evidence is that because they think it is essential that the ijma be based on a proof. From this point of view, the alliances that occurred in mental matters were not considered as ijma. The theologians always tried to support their claims with nass/textual proofs. When the ijma is realized, whether known or not, they have stated that there is certainly a religious proof behind it. Because, the provisions that were reached through ijma, cannot be against the provisions of the Prophet. Many issues in Islamic Belief and Kalam works are supported by the mental and textual evidences as well as by deductive ijma. However, many of the claims of Ijmas in these works reflect the inter-sect ijmas of the Ahl al-Sunnah. The sects outside the Ahl al-Sunnah were excluded. This attitude is, above all, the aim of ensuring the integrity within the sect, and trying to protect the Ahl al-Sunnah belief. Since the ijma evidence has a function that prevents all kinds of arbitrary and divisive thoughts and turns the supposed knowledge into the qat'i/certain one, it raises the provision to the next level just after the nass, rather than merely being a ijtihadi provision. In the case of the forerunner of the Ahl al-Sunnah, the Maturides and Ash'arites have not differed in in understanding of ijma in terms of methodology. Although they have different views on the definition and content of the ijma, they have a common understanding of alliances of Mujtahids on the same view. The mutakallims (theologians) of Maturidi and Ash'ari schools have used the proof of ijma as supportive evidence in the cases related to Kalam. al-Ash'ari not only adopted the proof of ijma but also used it in practice in. He did not make any distinction in proof of ijma as practical, theological, methodological or sub-divisional; he used it freely in every field. Maturidi and Ash'ari scholars decided that the ijma could occur in religious matters and that there would be evidence when it was formed; In the case of mental issues, they have required the knowledge to be based on solid information. In the case of ijma in purely mental issues, they have disputed over the issue. While some Ahl al-Sunnah scholars stated that since purely mental matters were certain knowledge and therefore don't need ijma, they also ruled that because the mujtahids could get this knowledge from religious texts, therefore ijma could occur in mental matters as well.