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Basra in the Last Decades of the 1st Century AH

In the second period of the Basran Successors religious teachings came to assume a more systematic framework, thanks to the closer links between the religious and scholarly circles in Basra and Medina and the wide use of the teachings of the late Companions such as Ibn `Abbas. Two distinct tendencies are detected in the views of the Basrans of the period: the school of khawf (fear, i.e. fear of divine punishment) led by Hasan Basri and the school of raja’ (hope, i.e. hope toward divine mercy) headed by Ibn Sirin. The teachings of Hasan Basri (d. 110 AH) was a complex amalgam of various strains, from the ascetic beliefs of the Qurra’ of Iraq and the teachings of Imam `Ali (PBUH) to the views of the school of Hijaz, especially those of the circle of Ibn `Abbas. On the other hand, Ibn Sirin (d. 110 AH) was a Basran scholar who, in addition to benefiting form the views of such eminent Companions as Ibn `Abbas, Ibn `Umar and Anas b. Malik, was influenced by the teachings of the Qurra’ite pupils of Ibn Mas`ud such as `Ubaydah Salmani. Though the idea of raja’ was previously hinted at in the teachings of Abu al-`Aliyah and Mutrif b. `Abd Allah, the twin notions of khawf and raja’ are always associated in Islamic sources with the schools of Basra, represented by Hasan Basri and Ibn Sirin. In an account reported by Hisham b. Hisan, Hasan Basri’s definition of belief, in word as well as in action, is juxtaposed with that of Ibn Sirin who astutely interprets faith (without resorting to action) as believing in God and angels, and who thus sets forth the later version of the theory of raja’.

The ethical system of Ibn Sirin was rather simple. The most fundamental teaching of all the followers of his school was the notion of immense optimism regarding the salvation of all those who believe in Islam, with the corollary belief in waqf. In line with the same tendency, the followers of Abu Qalabah b. Awn distanced themselves from those who believed in armed struggle, which brought them closer to `Uthmani views. As regards the relationship between the followers of these two schools, it may be assumed that there was limited contact among the advocates of khawf with the Muhakkimah and Qadariyyah. On the contrary, the advocates of raja’ were staunchly opposed to the latter two groups while having limited relations with the Murji’ah. It should be noted that the followers of the school of raja’ shared common views with the Murji’ates, a fact that may account for the link between them and well known Murji’ate scholars such as Talaq b. Habib Basri.

source: Pakatchi , Ahmad "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 ,pp.424 - 425.

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